♫ Papa’s Got A Brand New Bag ♫

Enough of Bryan Adams for this week … let’s have us some James Brown!

In March 1965, after a legal battle with King Records, Brown agreed to a new contract with a higher royalty rate than their previous agreement, plus Brown’s own publishing company and complete artistic control. Brown promptly went into a Charlotte, North Carolina, studio and cut Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag.

King Records executive Syd Nathan gave a copy of this to New York DJ Frankie Cocker, who hated the new James Brown style but was impressed with the response when he put it on the air anyway. When King Records released the track as a single, Smash Records, the label Brown had leased some of his songs to that prompted the lawsuit, released an instrumental version of the song. As part of the ruling, Smash Records could release only instrumental versions of Brown’s songs.

The original song was about seven minutes long, moved at a slower pace, and featured a more elaborate intro. After the song was cut, Brown sliced off most of the intro, sped the song up to get it played on pop radio, and broke it up into three parts (the second of which can be heard on the flipside of the original single).

The vocal version reached #8 in the US. It was the first Top 10 hit for the Godfather of Soul, and marked a departure from his early music toward the definition of his signature sound. Horns are used for percussive effect, and Brown’s vocals are tightly attached to the overall instrumental mix.

Brown recorded this song in one take – the released version was merely supposed to be a run-through, but sounded so good it was kept anyway. Brown, who still hadn’t memorized the song’s lyrics, read from a sheet in front of him; at the beginning of the original take, he can be heard saying “There’s a lot of words here, man.” He also can be heard exclaiming “This is a hit!” just before the band kicks in.

This won a Grammy for Best R&B Recording of 1965. It was also inducted into the Grammy Hall Of Fame in 1999.

Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag, Pt. 1
James Brown

Come here sister, Papa’s in the swing
He ain’t too hip, about that new breed babe
He ain’t no drag
Papa’s got a brand new bag

Come here mama, and dig this crazy scene
He’s not too fancy, but his line is pretty clean
He ain’t no drag
Papa’s got a brand new bag

It’s the Jerk
He’s doing the Fly
Don’t play him cheap ’cause you know he ain’t shy
He’s doing the Monkey, the Mashed Potatoes
Jump back Jack, See you later alligator

Come here sister
Papa’s in the swing
He ain’t too hip now
But I can dig that new breed babe
He ain’t no drag
He’s got a brand new bag

Oh papa, He’s doing the Jerk
Papa, he’s doing the Jerk
He’s doing the twist, just like this
He’s doing the Fly every day and every night
The thing’s, like the Boomerang
Hey, come on
Hey hey, come on
Hey hey, said you uptight, out of sight
Come on, see what you know
Come on, see what you know

Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: James Brown
Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag, Pt. 1 lyrics © Warner Chappell Music, Inc

16 thoughts on “♫ Papa’s Got A Brand New Bag ♫

  1. Yeah! Need a whisky and a cigar. 😉 Have a beautiful weekend, Jill! It’s a shame I can’t play this louder. It’s already after 9 p.m. and our neighbor would certainly call the police. Yet this song in particular would have such a good resonance, in this quarter. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • Agreed, and I was very surprised to find that this one was covered by … Pat Boone, Freddy Cannon, Georgie Fame, Quincy Jones, L.A. Guns, Willie Mitchell, Pigbag, Otis Redding, Roger, Jimmy Smith, The Ventures, Charles Wright & the Watts 103rd Street Rhythm Band. Pat Boone??? Quincy Jones???? Somehow I just can’t picture it! I didn’t listen to any of the other covers, but I will, just because I must know!


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