Even though most Residents fans say George & James is one of the worst albums they have ever released, I really don't find it to be that bad. Of course, it's far from being one of their best albums, but I really don't think it deserves that much hate.
Let's start with the George Gershwin songs. Everyone hates those songs because they sound so repetitive and boring. I really don't know what's wrong with them. Their version of "Rhapsody in Blue" sounds like it could be used in a creepy cartoon from the 60's, and that's not a bad thing at all. "I Got Rhythm" sounds nice, but I'll have to say that it's the worst of the three. "Summertime" is atmospheric and is great for finishing the Gershwin side of the album.
But the real reason for this album to be so hated by everyone is side B: The Residents' rendition of James Brown's "Live at the Apollo" album. I can understand why everyone would despise this: the sound is horribly produced, the vocals are painful to hear, and the songs all sound the same. With that said, I still like this part of the album, even though I prefer the Gershwin side.
The audience noises were taken from one of The Residents' Mole Show performances, and it does get quite annoying halfway through James' side. But this is supposed to sound like an actual live show. Of course the music sounds bad!
I wonder what James Brown would think of this. He'd probably get a good laugh out of it.