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George & James (subtitled "American Composer Series - Volume 1") is an album by The Residents, released on Ralph Records on March 13th 1984.

The first in the group's American Composer Series, George & James profiles the work of George Gershwin and James Brown (specifically, the first half of the 1963 album Live At The Apollo).

The American Composer Series was intended to last from 1984 until 2000, with each volume profiling two American composers. The series was ultimately abandoned by The Residents after the release of the second volume, Stars & Hank Forever, in 1986.

History

George & James consists of covers of works by George Gershwin (1898-1937) and James Brown (1933-2006).

The album notes include a brief introduction to the American Composer Series concept, followed by brief biographies of the two artists and of The Residents, describing them as "a group of pseudo-artists who freely indulge themselves in the Great American Culture".

The Residents had been fans of Gershwin since their pre-history, having previously loosely covered "Summertime" on their 1970 demo reel The Ballad of Stuffed Trigger.

The James Brown side of the album was based on the 1963 album Live At The Apollo, one of the first live albums and the most successful R&B album ever. The Residents' version of Live At The Apollo is a suite which roughly covers the first side of the original album.

The "Live At The Apollo" suite simulates the sound of the Apollo concert by using edited crowd noises taken from a Mole Show performance in Utrech, Holland (the same show used for the Mole Show: Live In Holland recording). James Brown is here personfiied by The Residents' lead vocalist, who transforms the Godfather of Soul into a growling, low-pitched voice similar to the Angakok from their 1979 album Eskimo.

George & James was the first Residents studio album to use computer-created graphics on the cover. Computer graphics and animation are also featured prominently in the promotional video for the group's single "This Is A Man's Man's Man's World".

Recording likely began following the release of The Tunes of Two Cities in April of 1982, with frequent interruptions caused by The Mole Show tour throughout 1982 and 1983. The audience noises featured on the second side are notably sampled from a radio broadcast of The Mole Show on June 4th 1983.

Following The Mole Show, the group likely continued vocal work on the album without their emulators. The emulators, which had been used heavily, had been left in storage in London after the last Mole performance. In September production had to be halted again, as The Residents' attention was shifted to their unfinished collaboration with Renaldo & The Loaf, Title In Limbo. In October, the group likely took a break to rehearse for The Uncle Sam Mole Show, with sessions continuing in November. From November 1983 to February 1984, the group finished the album.

Track listing


Original LP

George (17:37)

  1. Rhapsody In Blue (George Gerswhin) (10:30)
  2. I Got Rhythm (George/Ira Gerswhin) (3:02)
  3. Summertime (Heyward/George/Ira Gerswhin) (4:05)

James: Live At The Apollo (18:40)

  1. I'll Go Crazy (Brown) (2:42)
  2. Try Me (Brown) (0:40)
  3. Think (Pauling) (2:15)
  4. I Don't Mind (Brown) (2:29)
  5. Lost Someone (Brown/Stallworth/Byrd) (5:52)
  6. Please, Please, Please (Brown/Terry) (1:17)
  7. Night Train (Forest/Simpkins/Washington) (3:25)


Cassette Version

George

  1. Rhapsody In Blue (George Gerswhin) (10:30)
  2. I Got Rhythm (George/Ira Gerswhin) (3:02)
  3. Summertime (Heyward/George/Ira Gerswhin) (4:05)

James

  1. I'll Go Crazy (Brown) (2:42)
  2. Try Me (Brown) (0:40)
  3. Think (Pauling) (2:15)
  4. I Don't Mind (Brown) (2:29)
  5. Lost Someone (Brown/Stallworth/Byrd) (5:52)
  6. Please, Please, Please (Brown/Terry) (1:17)
  7. Night Train (Forest/Simpkins/Washington) (3:25)
  8. It's A Man's Man's Man's World (Brown)


1993 CD version

  1. Rhapsody In Blue (10:31)
  2. I Got Rhythm (3:04)
  3. Summertime (4:09)
  4. Live At The Apollo (0:55)
  5. I'll Go Crazy (1:46)
  6. Try Me (0:50)
  7. Think (1:57)
  8. I Don't Mind (2:39)
  9. Lost Someone (5:40)
  10. Please, Please, Please (1:19)
  11. Night Train (3:38)


1999 CD version

  1. Rhapsody In Blue (10:31)
  2. I Got Rhythm (3:04)
  3. Summertime (4:09)
  4. Intro (0:54)
  5. I'll Go Crazy (1:46)
  6. Try Me (0:50)
  7. Think (1:57)
  8. I Don't Mind (2:40)
  9. Lost Someone (5:39)
  10. Please, Please, Please (1:19)
  11. Night Train (3:38)

Liner notes

George & James back cover, 1985

The American Composer Series

America, in its relatively short history, has produced an astounding number of talented individuals in the field of music. The Residents are deeply indebted to the American composer for the spunk it has given the melting pot.

This series is to be recorded during the final 16 years of the 20th century (1984-2000). While each record will be released upon completion, the work, as a whole, will not be available until 2001 and will contain the works of not less than twenty composers.

George Gershwin (1898-1937)

Gershwin was born in Brooklyn, New York, on September 25th, 1898. At 21 he had his first hit with "Swanee". In 1922, Gershwin wrote a one-act opera, "135th Street", which paved the way for his 1924 premier of "Rhapsody In Blue". Few pieces written before that time had both the quality and general Americana of "Rhapsody", and it made Gershwin famous throughout the world of music.

After that he split his time by writing both for Broadway and the concert hall. Other works are: "An American In Paris", "Porgy and Bess", "I Got Rhythm", "Nice Work If You Can Get It", "Somebody Loves Me", and many other '30s pop tunes. He died in 1937 of a brain tumor.

James Brown (1933- 2006)

Overcoming a childhood of poverty, Brown rose to become America's first successful black artist. His first record was "Please, Please, Please" (1956). In 1962, he recorded one of the first live albums, "Live at the Apollo". It immediately became the most commercially successful R&B album ever recorded.

James has had over 20 singles that sold a million, including "It's A Man's Man's Man's World", "Say It Loud, I'm Black and I'm Proud", "Papa's Got A Brand New Bag", "Prisoner of Love", and "Sex Machine".

Credits

Original release (1984)

Additional Credits (Featured on later pressings)

  • 'I Got Rhythm' Written by: George & Ira Gerswhin
  • 'Summertime' Written by: DuBose Heyward, George & Ira Gerswhin
  • 'Think' Written by: Lowman Pauling
  • 'Lost Someone' Written by: James Brown, Lloyd Stallworth & Bobby Byrd
  • 'Please, Please, Please' Written by: James Brown & Johnny Terry
  • 'Night Train' Written by: Forrest/Simpkins/Washington

Release history

The album was released circa March 13th 1984[1] by Ralph Records. It was later released by Korava in Europe, who had also released 'I'll Go Crazy / It's A Man's Man's Man's World' as a single from the album.

Korava also released a cassette version of the album, featuring the band's non-album single Man's World as a bonus track. This version is also notable for featuring more accurate writing credits than the LP. Where the LP editions simply credit side one to Gershwin, and side two to Brown, the cassette edition credits the song's co-writers, and in the case of 'Think', and 'Night Train', their correct writers.

George & James was repressed fort the first time as part of Ralph Records' 13th Anniversary re-issue series in 1986. This version is largely identical to the original 1984 release.

The first CD version of the album was released by Euro Ralph in 1993, alongside a promotional cassette of 20 copies. The next CD was released in Japan in 1999 by Bomba Records. This version is the first official remaster of the album, and was remastered at Master & Servant, by The Cryptic Corporation. This version also features more accurate writing credits than the LP version, but still discredits James Brown as the writer of 'Think'. The following year this remastered version was released in the US by East Side Digital. Seventeen years following this the album was digitally re-released through iTunes by Cherry Red Records. The next release of the album is likely to be included in the heavilydelayed American Composers Box-Set.

Year Label Format Region
1984 Ralph Records LP US
Korova EU
UK
Cass EU
1986 Ralph Records LP US
1993 Euro Ralph Cass/CD EU
CD
1999 Bomba Records JP
2000 East Side Digital US
2017 Cherry Red Records DIgital UK

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See also

External links and references

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