Monday, December 25, 2006

James Brown and the Night Boston Didn't Burn

The Godfather of Soul is dead. And after so many bows and so many shows how ironic that the final one should come on Christmas Day. And how delicious.

I bet Mr Dynamite, the Minister of Super Heavy Funk, or just the Sex Machine would have loved that. Jesus and James. All those pious goody goody hypocrites. All those headlines. And all that funk.

Ooh baby. He wouldn't just be laughing...he'd be jumpin' !!

It was as if fate finally decided to give James a break. After ripping him off for most of his life.

He was one of the greatest performers and musical geniuses this continent has ever produced. But most people came to know him in his later years for his stoned and drunken appearances, and his troubles with the law. And they forgot all the great things he had done before.

They forgot how great he was when he was in his prime. How he influenced so many other musicians. And how he contributed mightily to the Civil Rights struggle. With songs like Say it Loud...I'm Black and Proud.

They forgot his famous concert at the Boston Garden the day after Martin Luther King was killed. Young blacks were rioting in more than a hundred cities. The authorities wanted to cancel the show. But James was against the rioting. He wanted to make a statement. He persuaded the mayor to let the show go on. And televise it live to try to keep the black kids at home.

If you want to see what James Brown was really all about.... as a man and a performer.... all you gotta do is check out this clip from that show. (6:30) When the theatre was so tense, it was ready to explode...

It worked. The kids did stay home. Boston didn't burn.

Oh many people forgot what James once was. Forgot from what kind of racist America he came from. And how hard he had to struggle just to survive. Picking cotton and dancing for pennies. He didn't help himself. He was always his own worst enemy. But people tried to make him out to be just a washed up buffoon. And he was always much much greater than that.

But I'm happy coz I know history will be kinder to him than life often was. His legend is secure. And one thing is for sure. If there is a place where great musicians go....

It's jumpin' tonight!!!!

P.S. I just hope that at the funeral somebody puts a cape on the casket....takes it off....puts in on....takes it off. And after one last bit of wild singing....puts in on and leaves it there forever....

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