Rest & Thanks: Happy James Brown Day!

by dre of onustees.com on 3 May 2012

“So now ladies and gentlemen it is star time, are you ready for star time?”

Before there was MJ… there was JB… the baddest man on the planet… let alone show business…

None like him before… none like him soon to come…

My fandom and appreciation for the gifts he left this world cannot be contained in words… and certainly not a blog post…

I’ll try my best to convey in a few selections of James Brown’s lesser known hits…

Honky Tonk (Parts 1 & 2)

This song immediately takes me back to Saturday morning big breakfasts that Pop’s would whip up…  Often I’d wake up from dream where the voices in the beginning of the song crept in… “Honky Tonk, Honky Tonk, Honky Tonk!!!” …once the guitar began I’d wake up knowing it was time tackle the day… Brush my teeth… head to the table, chow down on some cheese eggs and turkey bacon… all the while bobbing my head…

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KJeRfZozq1g]

Why Does Everything Happen To Me? (Live at the Apollo)

One of my Top 5  James Brown experiences only lasts for about a minute or so… and isn’t the original version of a song… On his  “Live at the Apollo” album, he performs a medley book-ended by the popular “Please Please Please”… within that performance is a rendition of “Why Does Everything Happen to Me?” …I’m not sure if it’s the lead up… the horn section… the way the drummer ends each 4th measure… the BB King-esque guitar playing… or the sincerity of his voice… but that combination and it’s brevity has made it one of my favorite JB moments… Here’s a direct link to the part of the song…

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eJhZoiOfCi4?t=3m35s]

…enjoy the entire song… or skip to 3:35…

Bring It Up

This is just a great song… as kid it was simply fun to snap, clap, tap, dance and any other move I could concoct as this played through the house… Later, I would be able to identify the New Orleans “Second Line” bop it had to it… Much later, I would realize what Hipster Avenue meant…

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0wDHX1YXzjY]

People Get Up and Drive Your Funky Soul

I discovered this song later in life… During my time as a dabbler in beatmaking… While crate digging I stumbled upon the soundtrack for “Slaughter’s Big Rip-Off” composed entirely by James… It’s complete with a “funky good time” but nothing on there tops “Drive Your Funky Soul”… Like many of his other songs… It meshes a theme of uplifting while keeping your foot tapping… More recently, I found the full version on his Motherlode album that features the legendary JB count in and the extended groove of The J.B.’s… (Why car companies haven’t used it in an ad… I do not know…)

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_BrITP7DZjE]

The Man In The Glass

Another find during my create digging for James era… was the album “Soul On Top”… released in 1970… today, this would be like Coldplay producing an album for Lil Wayne… and it actually sounded great… Jazz saxophonist, Oliver Nelson arranged several of Brown’s hits and some covers with his orchestra… one of the results was “The Man In The Glass”… I was immediately surprised, shocked, amazed and thrilled…

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SQq8X0SlkJ8]

There are plenty of others… but those are just a few of my favorite James Brown experiences…

I’m sure you have many of your own…

Go play some James today,

– dre’

P.S. – DC area folks, if you’re looking to hear some James on a Friday night… check out DJ Cuzzin B’s tribute show @ Fever, 816 H ST NE…

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