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Saturday, 3 May 2014

James Brown born 3 May 1928

 

James Joseph Brown, Jr. (May 3, 1933 - December 25, 2006), commonly referred to as "The Godfather of Soul," "King of Funk," and "The Hardest Working Man in Show Business," “Mr. Dynamite” and even “the Original Disco Man,” was a two-time Grammy Award-winning and multiple Grammy Award-nominated American entertainer recognized as one of the most influential figures in 20th century popular music. He was renowned for his shouting vocals, feverish dancing and unique rhythmic style.
 
This much is certain: what became known as soul music in the Sixties, funk music in the Seventies and rap music in the Eighties is directly attributable to James Brown. His transformation of gospel fervor into the taut, explosive intensity of rhythm & blues, combined with precision choreography and dynamic showmanship, served to define the directions black music would take from the release of his first R&B hit ("Please Please Please") in 1956 to the present day.
 
Brown’s life history documents one triumph over adversity after another. He was born into poverty in Barnwell, South Carolina,


during the Great Depression. As a child, he picked cotton, danced for spare change and shined shoes. At 16, he was caught and convicted of stealing, and he landed in reform school for three years. While incarcerated, he met Bobby Byrd, leader of a gospel group that performed at the prison. After his release, Brown tried his hand at semipro boxing and baseball. A career-ending leg injury inspired him to pursue music fulltime. He joined Byrd in a group that sang gospel in and around Toccoa, Georgia. But then Byrd and Brown attended a rhythm & blues revue that included Hank Ballard and Fats Domino, whose performances lured them into the realm of secular music. Renaming themselves the Flames (later, the Famous Flames), they became a tightly knit ensemble that showcased their abundant talents as singers, dancers and multi-instrumentalists.
 
Brown rose to the fore as leader of the James Brown Revue - an entourage complete with emcee, dancers and an untouchable stage band (the J.B.’s). Reportedly sweating off up to seven pounds a night, Brown was a captivating performer who’d incorporate a furious regimen of spins, drops and shtick (such as feigning a heart attack, complete with the ritual donning and doffing of capes and a fevered return to the stage) into his skintight rhythm & blues. What Elvis Presley was to rock and roll, James Brown became to R&B: a prolific and dominant phenom. Like Presley, he is a three-figure hitmaker, with 114 total entries on Billboard’s R&B singles charts and 94 that made the Hot 100 singles chart.
 
Over the years, he amassed 800 songs in his repertoire while maintaining a grueling touring schedule. Recording for the King and Federal labels throughout the Fifties and Sixties, Brown distilled R&B to its essence on such classic albums as Live at the Apollo (patterned after Ray Charles’ In Person) and singles like “Cold Sweat,” “Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag” and “I Got You (I Feel Good).” His group, the J.B.’s, was anchored by horn players and musical mainstays Fred Wesley and Maceo Parker. Brown also recorded a series of instrumental albums, taking a break from soul shouting to pursue his prowess as an organist. 
 
 
By the late Sixties, Brown had attained the status of a musical and cultural revolutionary, owing to his message of black pride and self-sufficiency. In the late Sixties and early Seventies, such message songs as “Say It Loud - I’m Black and I’m Proud” reverberated throughout the black community, within which he was regarded as a leader and role model. During this time, he began developing a hot funk sound with young musicians, such as bassist William “Bootsy” Collins, who passed through his ever-evolving band. Though his influence waned in the latter half of the Seventies, a cameo role in The Blues Brothers film in 1980 and his recognition as a forefather of rap helped trigger a resurgence. His records were more heavily sampled by rap and hip-hop acts than those of any other artist, and he achieved renewed street credibility by recording a single ("Unity") with rapper Afrika Bambaataa in 1984.
 
Brown was among the first group of performers inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986. Unfortunately, his personal life took a nose-dive in 1988, as he was investigated on a series of charges that ranged from spousal abuse and drug possession to problems with the IRS. Paroled after serving two years in prison, a chastened but resolute Brown picked up the pieces in the Nineties and carried on. If nothing else, his status as the Godfather of Soul has remained unassailable. In December 2003, only months after his 70th birthday, James Brown was the recipient of the prestigious Kennedy Center Honors.
 
On December 23, 2006, James Brown, in ill health, showed up at his dentist's office in Atlanta, Georgia several hours later than his appointment for dental implant work. During that visit, Brown's dentist observed that Brown looked "very bad ... weak and dazed." instead of performing the dental work, the dentist advised Brown to see a doctor right away about his medical condition.
 
Brown checked in at the Emory Crawford Long Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia on December 24, 2006 for a medical evaluation of his condition, and he was admitted to the hospital for observation and treatment.
 
On December 25, 2006, Brown died at approximately 1:45 a.m.(06:45 UTC) from congestive heart failure resulting from complications of pneumonia, with his agent Frank Copsidas and his friend Charles Bobbit at his bedside. According to Bobbit, Brown stuttered "I'm going away tonight" and then Brown took three long, quiet breaths and closed his eyes. (info mainly rockhall.com)

 

2 comments:

Donald Sevier said...

One of the greats was James Brown. Loved his stuff back in the 60's when R&B and Soul was the in music. Not forgetting some of his contemporaries such as Otis Redding and Wilson Pickett. Excellent Blog Bob.

boppinbob said...

Thanks Don. Managed to find this link

For Sex Machine: The Very Best Of James Brown go here:

http://www35.zippyshare.com/v/99196427/file.html

1. Please, Please, Please - James Brown & The Famous Flames
2. Think - James Brown & The Famous Flames
3. Night Train
4. Out Of Sight
5. Papa's Got A Brand New Bag (Part 1)
6. I Got You (I Feel Good)
7. It's A Man's, Man's, Man's World - James Brown, Sammy Lowe, New York Studio Orchestra
8. Cold Sweat
9. Say It Loud - I'm Black And I'm Proud
10. Get Up I Feel Like Being A Sex Machine - James Brown, The Original J.B.s
11. Hey America
12. Make It Funky (Part 1)
13. I'm A Greedy Man - James Brown, The J.B.'s
14. Get On The Good Foot, Pt. 1
15. Get Up Offa That Thing
16. It's Too Funky In Here
17. Living In America
18. I'm Real
19. Hot Pants Pt. 1 (She Got To Use What She Got To Get Want She Wants) - James Brown, The J.B.'s
20. Soul Power (Parts 1 & 2) - James Brown, The J.B.'s