Subject: Re: another one gone
Date: December 26, 2006 2:53:21 PM EST
R.I.P. James Brown 12-26-tuesday....
Rings of reaction spread from the center of the pond of loss...A true, rare original is gone. Who knew that Seminole Indian blood understood the atmospheric speaker pressure of the fender bass pickup? Or that jailbird car thief gypsies understand how fuck humping
can fit into a 45 rpm disc mix? This is the surprise of the diminutive but nuclear African Picasso we came to know as JB.
He made the squarest white missionary swivel. Have you ever gone into a studio and TRIED to make the new, the remarkable, the special, the HISTORIC? Just try it, and cry with embarassment. Now, JB was visiting from another plantation...- he captured the sound of
energetic excitement - pure and simple - the throbbing pulse of the act of creation attached to a full moon smile. Pond life does it, the Queen and the pope have variations on it, and JB made it possible for all of us to GET DOWN in public, let loose, feel the
thrill...... to have fun with a capital k on the end.
All of us are copying him, this refreshing son of a brothel queen. He liberated
me. There aren't many artists who can remove all at once and bring us stripped
down, down to the cave again, to the swamp where we all came from, to the
fundamental joy of IT. The next great Picasso of R&B will be.......?
obit thoughts submitted by Don
Were you dreaming
of a white Christmas? In Denver, I'm guessing the snow's a little stale, but
still pretty. The gray light around here suggests that it may be a wet Christmas
It's odd to see pictures on CNN of people in China celebrating Christmas
with inflatable US flag-themed bats and hammers. Seems they have Christmas
and New Year's all jumbled together. In Australia, it's little fake trees on
the beach. Somebody should have gone and found a Caribbean Christmas tree —
stories-tall relatives of the Yucca which are said to bloom only rarely, trimmed
with colorful glass bottles.
Christmas signals the beginning of the last week of the year. In that week,
we remember those who've passed away in the year we're leaving behind. This
morning, a friend wrote ‘Well its a Brown Christmas... I'm thinking up an obit
for Mr. Dynamite, he meant alot to
me as he did to twenty, no forty, no 300 million others. I read his autobio
To me he is a Picasso, a world heavyweight.’
That's the first I'd heard that
James Brown had died. Yes, he was a heavyweight, ‘the hardest-working man in
show business,’ and the source of so many memories. Without James, Eddie Murphy
wouldn't have had source material for one of the funniest bits he ever did
on Saturday Night Live [Hot Tub!], or a number of bits that he did on stand-up
gigs around the world. And, Funk music would not have had an anchor.
There's no official cause of death yet, but James had been hospitalized with
pneumonia. It's fitting that his life would end with his lungs giving out.
He had bookings through the holiday season this year — his lungs may have failed
him, but his heart and drive never gave out.
In the 80's a bunch of friends were making up lists, and the question put
to a bunch of us was to name the five or so people who had the biggest impact
on popular music. James was at the top of my list. Many of the people in that
group strongly disagreed. It was one of those times where it was clear that
music might be universal, but music forms are distinctly cultural. Still, I'd
bet that several of those people would, by now, acknowledge that James was
an important part of popular music, and popular culture.
I don't remember any questions about James Brown on Jeopardy, but somewhat
strangely, I found out that two other musical heroes (hear-oh's) of mine died
this year through questions on that show.
One was Wilson Pickett, who I actually
got to meet in a recording studio and sing backing vocals for. One of the funniest
things he talked about that day, was being on the set of Blues Brothers with
James Brown and John Landis. The point Wilson was making, was that nobody tells
James Brown how to perform. The song ‘Funky Broadway’ often comes to mind when
I go into Manhattan. I can't even imagine how many thousands, if not millions,
of times bands have covered ‘Midnight Hour.’
Then, there's Billy Preston, who was known to many as ‘the fifth Beatle.’
On his album I Wrote a Simple Song, he thanks John Lennon for his
support. I played the song Outta Space until the vinyl turned gray.
I always thought he deserved more fame and success than he seemed to achieve.
A lot of musicians don't seem to know ‘Will it Go 'Round in Circles,’ but it's
one of Billy's best, and I think it'll go 'round for many more years to come.