29 December 2006

Papa's Got A Brand New Bag.

It was sad to hear of the death of James Brown on Christmas Day and a bit of a shock even considering some of the problems he had had in the past with drugs and dangerous living.

I first became conscious of James Brown when I lived in the states, MTV had "Living In America" on heavy rotation for a lot of the time, but they never bothered to play his good stuff. This was in the days before MTV had discovered black music or rather that advertisers would still pay good money when they played R&B, rap and hip hop.

I didn't hear any more of James Brown until I got to University in 1989, "The Funky Drummer" had started to feature in almost every tune with a sample in it, even the indie ones. For lunch we used to go to Bar One in the Union, a lot, as it was comfy and cheap. The bar juke box would automatically play sixties soul, Motown and R&B if no one had fed it, we got to hear a lot of James Brown, Smokey Robinson and The Four Tops, as it was music that offended no one, it was rare of a lunchtime that anyone would pay money to listen to anything else. We all knew the words come the spring term, to all the songs. A sight I will always cherish will be of a willowy thin Punk lad who was about 6 foot 6 in his stockinged feet before he spiked up his mohichan, absently mindedly asking all in sundry if he could "take it to the bridge?" in time with James as he queued up for his pasty and chips.

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