Down and Out in New York City is my favorite Brown discovery of the last few years, a song so good that I still can't fathom why it appears on so few of his Best Of compilations. It was recorded for the soundtrack of the film Black Caesar in 1973, which was one of a handful of hugely successful Blaxploitation soundtracks from that era (with Shaft and Superfly being the two most notable). It actually sounds somewhat dissimilar from a lot of Brown's other work at the time, probably because he didn't write this song (a major rarity for him), and it's more of a pure soul song for the era. But Brown still adds just enough funk to make it clearly his own, and the result is stunning. That someone can release a four disc box set of his best work, and this song didn't even make the cut, will forever amaze me. For those of you hearing it for the first time, I hope it blows your mind just as much as it did mine.
This was originally written and posted on Facebook on May 21, 2014
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