Thursday, December 28, 2006

FBO: 'Listening to James Brown'

We so often forget to tribute the greats until they die. James Brown's catalog of music is likely going to see a bump in sales following his Christmas Day death at 73, but probably for the wrong songs. James, these days, seems best known for his early 1960s haircut and songs like 'I Got You (I Feel Good)' and his landmark live album Live at the Apollo recorded in 1962. But he got more interesting as the '70s began, with Bootsy Collins on bass and deep-voiced back-up vocalist Bobby Byrd to echo his points ('that's right', 'yeah!,' 'keep on singing') in songs that regularly passed the eight-minute mark. The key was horn-accented, bass-driven grooves that had no particular parts -- songs could as easily end three minutes as 10 minutes.

If you're looking for some dollar JB downloads to tribute the 'godfather of soul' check out these, only one of which makes his 20 All-Time Greatest Hits CD:

Get Up, Get Into It & Get Involved Best call-and-response and guitar/horn interplay of all time. All seven minutes... gold.
Talkin' Loud & Sayin' Nothing Listen for his response when the band follows his instruction: 'Stop! ...that was good!'
Soul Power Everyone is doing their own thing and it works.
The Payback Enter the wah wah.

And if you don't have it, you must have this hit:

Get Up (I Feel Like Being a) Sex Machine

I never saw James Brown live, but visiting Trump Hotel near Central Park last year, a sudden stir came across the gaudy all-gold lobby, and in came The Man. There was no mistaking him. In a full red suit, hair primped into its famous wave, sun glasses on, and quick boot-heel clicks on the marble floor. The entourage stuffed into a gold elevator and up to a gold suite. Today James Brown's body was on view, in a golden casket, in the Apollo Theater in Harlem. He arrived in a horse-driven wagon along 125th St, where thousands of fans came to pay their respects. One last grand entourage. I really should have gone to see it.

FBO Admin
Mobile/Semi-Permanent HQ -- Brooklyn, NY

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