Monday, December 25, 2006

more royalty passes...Minister of the New Super Heavy Funk /The Godfather Of Soul/Mr.Please, Please, himself /The Hardest Working Man In Showbusiness/


on the day of celebrating Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit.....the "Godfather" of Soul passes from our Cosmos...
Music will truly never be the same.


I saw James Brown live twice in my life ....

The first time in the 80's at the venerable Lung Fung Lounge out on 82nd Avenue, and as we anticipated his arrival, the JB band did it's usual warm up of the audience and the inevitable build-up to the Godfather's arrival and usual wasting of the audience with his slick moves and the super-heavy industrial strength Funk that he for sure laid in our laps that evening.
That microphone stand took a beating from JB whipping it at us and reeling it back like a whip with the microphone cord.

He still had the feeling, and we all walked out of there that evening sweating as much as he did.

I also remember all of the folding chairs being whisked away from the seating area by the security staff when James hit the stage, because we for sure wouldn't need them for the rest of the show, because of all the wild Pagan dancing ensuing from all that were there...


The second time I saw him was in the last couple of years at Chinook Winds Casino on the Coast in Lincoln City.

JB had been living in Las Vegas for a while, and his show resembled a Vegas show in the glitz and pacing that had now defined it's existence.
A largely endowed woman,opening the show belting a tune with the band, who looked like Mae West, sung like an operatic version of the same...

A litany of sound problems marred the proceeding so much that JB had to stop the show and huddle with his support staff to get things back on the good foot that evening.

Did I neglect to tell you about the magician who came out and did his 5 minutes, the instrumental that the band did, which sounded like what goes on in a head of a crack addict from all of the weird stops and starts it had....

The two guys from the band who respectively did a great impression of JB's dance doing the splits/the other did the trademark scream/squall that moved mountains of people and embodied the coming of some new found pride in the African American community with every JB song he released.

All the while JB was standing at the side, pointing and smiling when the band member did his routine, imitating the Godfather. It was a strange show to behold (all 60 minutes of it), but I took it in stride, considering all of the antics that JB had been up to in recent months.

Let us not forget: This also is THE man who changed the face of music in his own potent and powerful way while he was here. His is the Funk that launched a thousand ships of the same DNA.

Upon hearing of his passing, I felt lucky to have even been there both of those times.

Here are two accounts of his passing to digest.......

Take me to the Bridge!!!

********************


ATLANTA - James Brown, the dynamic, pompadoured "Godfather of Soul,"
whose rasping vocals and revolutionary rhythms made him a founder of
rap, funk and disco as well, died early Monday, his agent said. He was
73.

Brown was hospitalized with pneumonia at Emory Crawford Long Hospital
on Sunday and died around 1:45 a.m. Monday, said his agent, Frank
Copsidas of Intrigue Music. Longtime friend Charles Bobbit was by his
side, he said.

Copsidas said Brown's family was being notified of his death and that
the cause was still uncertain. "We really don't know at this point
what he died of," he said.

Along with Elvis Presley, Bob Dylan and a handful of others, Brown was
one of the major musical influences of the past 50 years. At least one
generation idolized him, and sometimes openly copied him. His
rapid-footed dancing inspired Mick Jagger and Michael Jackson among
others. Songs such as David Bowie's "Fame," Prince's "Kiss," George
Clinton's "Atomic Dog" and Sly and the Family Stone's "Sing a Simple
Song" were clearly based on Brown's rhythms and vocal style.

If Brown's claim to the invention of soul can be challenged by fans of
Ray Charles and Sam Cooke, then his rights to the genres of rap, disco
and funk are beyond question. He was to rhythm and dance music what
Dylan was to lyrics: the unchallenged popular innovator.

"James presented obviously the best grooves," rapper Chuck D of Public
Enemy once told The Associated Press. "To this day, there has been no
one near as funky. No one's coming even close."

His hit singles include such classics as "Out of Sight," "(Get Up I
Feel Like Being a) Sex Machine," "I Got You (I Feel Good)" and "Say It
Out Loud - I'm Black and I'm Proud," a landmark 1968 statement of
racial pride.

"I clearly remember we were calling ourselves colored, and after the
song, we were calling ourselves black," Brown said in a 2003
Associated Press interview. "The song showed even people to that day
that lyrics and music and a song can change society."

He won a Grammy award for lifetime achievement in 1992, as well as
Grammys in 1965 for "Papa's Got a Brand New Bag" (best R&B recording)
and for "Living In America" in 1987 (best R&B vocal performance,
male.) He was one of the initial artists inducted into the Rock and
Roll Hall of Fame in 1986, along with Presley, Chuck Berry and other
founding fathers.

He triumphed despite an often unhappy personal life. Brown, who lived
in Beech Island near the Georgia line, spent more than two years in a
South Carolina prison for aggravated assault and failing to stop for a
police officer. After his release on in 1991, Brown said he wanted to
"try to straighten out" rock music.

From the 1950s, when Brown had his first R&B hit, "Please, Please,
Please" in 1956, through the mid-1970s, Brown went on a frenzy of
cross-country tours, concerts and new songs. He earned the nickname
"The Hardest Working Man in Show Business."

With his tight pants, shimmering feet, eye makeup and outrageous hair,
Brown set the stage for younger stars such as Michael Jackson and
Prince.

In 1986, he was inducted in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. And rap
stars of recent years overwhelmingly have borrowed his lyrics with a
digital technique called sampling.

Brown's work has been replayed by the Fat Boys, Ice-T, Public Enemy
and a host of other rappers. "The music out there is only as good as
my last record," Brown joked in a 1989 interview with Rolling Stone
magazine.

"Disco is James Brown, hip-hop is James Brown, rap is James Brown; you
know what I'm saying? You hear all the rappers, 90 percent of their
music is me," he told the AP in 2003.

Born in poverty in Barnwell, S.C., in 1933, he was abandoned as a
4-year-old to the care of relatives and friends and grew up on the
streets of Augusta, Ga., in an "ill-repute area," as he once called
it. There he learned to wheel and deal.

"I wanted to be somebody," Brown said.

By the eighth grade in 1949, Brown had served 3 1/2 years in Alto
Reform School near Toccoa, Ga., for breaking into cars.

While there, he met Bobby Byrd, whose family took Brown into their
home. Byrd also took Brown into his group, the Gospel Starlighters.
Soon they changed their name to the Famous Flames and their style to
hard R&B.

In January 1956, King Records of Cincinnati signed the group, and four
months later "Please, Please, Please" was in the R&B Top Ten.

While most of Brown's life was glitz and glitter, he was plagued with
charges of abusing drugs and alcohol and of hitting his third wife,
Adrienne.

In September 1988, Brown, high on PCP and carrying a shotgun, entered
an insurance seminar next to his Augusta office. Police said he asked
seminar participants if they were using his private restroom.

Police chased Brown for a half-hour from Augusta into South Carolina
and back to Georgia. The chase ended when police shot out the tires of
his truck.

Brown received a six-year prison sentence. He spent 15 months in a
South Carolina prison and 10 months in a work release program before
being paroled in February 1991. In 2003, the South Carolina parole
board granted him a pardon for his crimes in that state.

Soon after his release, Brown was on stage again with an audience that
included millions of cable television viewers nationwide who watched
the three-hour, pay-per-view concert at Wiltern Theatre in Los
Angeles.

Adrienne Brown died in 1996 in Los Angeles at age 47. She took PCP and
several prescription drugs while she had a bad heart and was weak from
cosmetic surgery two days earlier, the coroner said.

More recently, he married his fourth wife, Tomi Raye Hynie, one of his
backup singers. The couple had a son, James Jr.

Two years later, Brown spent a week in a private Columbia hospital,
recovering from what his agent said was dependency on painkillers.
Brown's attorney, Albert "Buddy" Dallas, said singer was exhausted
from six years of road shows.

********************
What did James Brown do?
By KELEFA SANNEH
Published: December 27, 2006


Even now, half a century after the release of his first single, “Please Please Please,” and days after his death of congestive heart failure, at 73, early on Christmas morning, that’s a surprisingly difficult question to answer.

He was a singer, of course, though he was perhaps better known for his grunts and his patter. “I wanna get up and do my thing. (Yeah!) Can I get into it? (Yeah!) Like a ... (What?) Like a ... (What?)” With an introduction like that, who cares if the song never starts?

He was a dancer, too, though that seemed less like the cause of his appeal and more like an effect of it. He moved as if he simply couldn’t help himself, and he toured that way too. His scheduled New Year’s Eve concert in New York was to be just one more date on his latest tour; tonight, for example, he had been scheduled for a concert in Waterbury, Conn. (Now that’s dedication.)

Most of all, he was an old-fashioned, hard-driving bandleader — which is to say, an anomaly. In an era of rock stars he often seemed like the second coming of Cab Calloway; the old big band had gotten smaller, but the man in front had only grown.

And while his rock ’n’ roll counterparts chafed at the idea of being mere entertainers, Mr. Brown never stopped bragging about being “the hardest-working man in show business.”

He was black and proud, he was a sex machine, but he was also a brilliant conductor, known for coaxing great performances out of the singers and musicians behind him. That, most of all, is what Mr. Brown did.

So celebrating the James Brown sound also means celebrating the musicians who created it. When he delayed the fourth and final beat of a measure, the drummer Clyde Stubblefield warped time in a way that helped inspire a whole constellation of rhythm-obsessed genres. Bobby Byrd (he of the famous “Yeah!” and “What?”), Maceo Parker, Fred Wesley, Bootsy Collins, Lyn Collins, Vicki Anderson: to love James Brown is to love them too. And not enough has been written about Jimmy Nolen, the visionary guitarist whose spidery licks helped inspire two generations of post-punk bands. (When people talk about “angular” guitars, they often mean “Jimmy-Nolen-ish.”)

In this sense the bandleader was also a brand leader: in the 1970s, especially, “James Brown” was not just a star, but an executive, a producer, a franchise. His name (sometimes his face too) on the record label meant you were getting a James-Brown-approved product. And if you went to see the J.B.’s, the backing band that morphed into a terrific stand-alone group, you were also seeing a reflection of Mr. Brown, even if he was nowhere near the building.

Bandleaders have always (of necessity) been businessmen too, but Mr. Brown was wise enough to be unembarrassed by the echo. There was a hint of corporate precision in the way he led those musicians onstage: each wiggle of the hip or flicker of the hand was an urgent memo from top management; each post-show conversation was a performance evaluation. Even his political program reflected this obsession; his vision of black power was in large part a vision of black spending power, and he saw no reason why a black nationalist shouldn’t also be an eager (and successful) black capitalist.

The musician as executive: this is the not-quite-new notion that defines the current musical era. Pop stars flaunt their corporate ties; rappers brag about their business acumen (real or, more often, imaginary); rock bands cheerfully acknowledge that they are brands on the run. And while some listeners may be nostalgic for a time when pop music was untainted by corporate chic, Mr. Brown’s career is a reminder that the old-fashioned bandleader and new-fangled pop-star C.E.O. really aren’t so far apart. When he called himself “the hardest-working man in show business,” the emphasis was on “working” and “business.”

If James Brown, the musician, has also been influential and enduring, it’s not just because of his evergreen hits, which still sound vigorous, even though they have been reissued and covered and sampled ad nauseam. And it’s not just because of all the styles he helped inspire, from Nigerian Afro-beat to Brazilian funk-rap.

It’s also because, decades before the rise of computer music, he proved that some virtuosos do their best work with no instruments at all. In that sense his true heirs today are producers like Timbaland: knob-twiddling masterminds who program sounds instead of conducting them, beat-obsessed visionaries who keep reinventing Mr. Brown’s propulsive templates, serial collaborators who understand the business of pop music.

No one could ever do all the things Mr. Brown did. But here is what’s more impressive: musicians are still finding new ways to do some of them.

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