Chuck D on James Brown
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A Musical Tribute
I have been working on this tribute for at least a week. I had to open up the vaults to put together this playlist. After a lot of time and effort, I finally got it done. These are some of my favorite James Brown songs, taken mostly from my own archive of James Brown material. Some you have heard....and there are some rarities here that you probably have not heard.
To me, James Brown was the personification of the Black struggle....especially the struggles of Black men in this country. He was also an example of Black pride and making something out of nothing. He struggled and made his own way, in a country that constantly put obstacles in the way of African Americans, especially in the era that he grew up in (Jim Crow). Yet, he still managed to become an example of how good we could be, and how far we could go, despite the obstacles. He was an advocate for hard work and self determination.
And the music..... there was never anything like it before, and there never will be anything like it. To this day, I have not heard anything that comes close to the Soul, Funk and driving rhythms of James Brown and his legendary JB's (in all their different variations over the years).
There were no beat machines, there was no computer generated music...although his bands dabbled in a few gadgets in the late 70's, and 80's. His bands were the real thing.... made from real instrumentation. If he needed violins, he went out and brought an orchestra to the studio. That's how most of the great Soul/R&B composers did it up until the 1980's (Marvin Gaye, Earth, Wind, & Fire, Curtis Mayfield, Donny Hathaway, Stevie Wonder, Smokey Robinson, Gladys Knight, Stax Records, Motown/Funk Brothers, Gamble & Huff- The Sound of Philly, etc etc). That's why I have a strong appreciation for the music that came out of the 60's and 70's.
Today, programmers (producers) simply create music with computer software.... that's why everything sounds the same... Music lost its character when the instrumentation started to die in the 1990's. You used to be able to identify groups and artists from their unique trademark sound.... you could pick out their riffs, phrasing, grooves, etc. But with the computer generated instrumentation of today, I often can't tell one singer or one group from the next. Musicians used to cherish being different from other artists.....now it seems as though everyone is fighting to sound the same. Could you imagine a James Brown (the same James Brown) trying to emerge in todays music and media market? It could not happen today. It would simply be impossible. First of all.... it's funny trying to imagine James Brown with no band.....or maybe a smaller band, with beat machines and computers.....lol. Ray Charles, Quincy, Louis Armstrong, Miles, Aretha, Stevie Wonder....none of them could have emerged in todays music and media market. Todays market runs counter to the concept of creativity, real musicianship, or improvisation.... all key elements of Americas musical development up until approximately 20 years ago. It's no coincidence that since these concepts began to be suppressed 15 or 20 years ago....we have seen the decline of music over that same period. And what happened to music with a message? James Brown made your head nod, but he also made sure that there was a thread of consciousness in many of his songs & albums. Today, artists are discouraged from any kind of message...other than sex, relationships, or shaking your behind. Not necessarily bad things.... but with everything that is going on in the World today, there has to be something more that music can convey. Al Sharpton (who I often don't agree with) said it pretty well when he commented about James Browns outlook on today's music..... "James Brown sung the people up (with uplifting songs) and today performers are singing people down" (referring to todays degenerate rap culture).
I'm glad all of the great groups of the past left a treasure of music behind for me to listen to.... because I can't even tolerate listening to the radio anymore....especially so called "Black Radio".
James Brown's music will definitely live on.
Onto the music..... (There is almost 5 hours worth of stuff here...enjoy). James Brown had several spinnoff groups, and had several soloists in his various bands. James Brown himself, started off singing in a gospel group (like many other Black Southern artists of his era).
This doesn't begin to cover James Brown's career.... he had about 100 albums....but it's still a nice collection of material.
1. Childrens Choir :) (unknown source.... done sometime in the late 1960's-early 70's)
2. James Brown Thanking The People :)
3. Like It Is, Like It Was (Mr. Brown tickling the ivories a little)
4. I Guess I'll Have to Cry
5. Sporting Life
6. Intro- Star Time
7. Try Me
8. Night Train
9. Out Of Sight
10. Get On The Good Foot
11. Give It Up or Turn It Loose
12. Say It Loud, I'm Black & I'm Proud- Live 1968
13. Licking Stick- Live
14. There Was a Time
15. Medley- Try Me/Lost Someone/Bewildered
16. If I Ruled The World
17. Georgia On My Mind
18. Tighten Up- Maceo Parker and the JB's
19. Soul Pride
20. Doing It To Death
21. It's A Mans World
22. Brother Rap
23. Ain't It Funky
24. Get Up, Get Into It, Get Involved
25. Hot Pants Road
26. Funky Drummer
Download Link Has Been Shut Off. I had the link available for 3 months. However, I still have the link information on file. Anyone interested in listening can contact the blog author. If it is still available (file still being hosted) by the time you make your request, then I will send the link information.
1. Make It Funky
2. The Boss
3. Say It Loud..... (Studio Version)
4. Blind Man Can See It
5. Talking Loud, Saying Nothing
6. Gimmie Some More
7. Licking Stick (Studio)
8. Same Beat (parts 1 & 2)
9. I Know You Got Soul- Bobby Byrd
10. I Don't Want Nobody to Give Me Nothin', Open Up the Door, I'll Get It Myself
11. White Lightning
13. There Was A Time (Slow Alternate Take)
14. JB's Monorail
15. Message From the Soul Sisters (parts 1&2) Vicki Anderson
16. From The Love Side- Hank Ballard
17. Soul Power
18. Summertime- James Brown w/ Martha High
19. You Can Have Watergate, Just Give Some Bucks & I'll Be Straight
20. Think- Lyn Collins (One of the original Queens of Funk)
21. I'm Paying Taxes, What Am I Buying
22. Mama Feelgood- Lyn Collins
23. Do Your Thing- Lyn Collins
24. King Heroin
25. Stone To The Bone
26. Mind Power
27. The Payback
28. Doing the Best I Can
29. Forever Suffering
30. Take Some, Leave Some
Download Link Has Been Shut Off. I had the link available for 3 months. However, I still have the link information on file. Anyone interested in listening can contact the blog author. If the link is still good (still being hosted) when you make your request, then I will send the link information.