Of all the songs James Brown covered, he returned to none as many times in so many different ways as he did the "5" Royales 1957 classic "Think", written by the great Lowman Pauling. Tracing versions of the songs gives us a window into the ever evolving Brown sound.
It's not hard to hear why this was such a fine tune for JB - the performance is mesmerizing, Pauling's guitar is great, the lyrics are fantastic both rhythmically and thematically - so many wonderful lines that shoulder and deflect responsibility for a broken relationship in such a smart way. And deflecting blame in a smart way was a JB specialty! "Think of all the bad things I tried not to do!" is just one of those lines that says it all.
Brown's initial single version, recorded in 1960, removes much of the melody and the finger-snapping stop-and-start rhythms from the tune and adds a great horn chart/riff, turns up the drums, and speeds it way up. The result is to my ears his first step towards creating funk - complete with Maceoesque sax solo.