MAKE IT FUNKY: THE MUSIC OF JAMES BROWN

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April 8, 2013 by joesonotheque

Maria’s Packaged Goods & Community Bar presents

MAKE IT FUNKY! THE MUSIC OF JAMES BROWN

hosted by “Soul Brother #54” Joe Bryl

friday, May 3 – 8PM-2AM – Free, No Cover

960 W. 31st Street, Chicago, Il. 60608 – 773.890.0588 – http://www.community-bar.com

 

“So now ladies and gentlemen it is star time, are you ready for star time? Thank you and thank you very kindly. It is indeed a great pleasure to present to you at this particular time, national and international[ly] known as the hardest working man in show business, the man that sings “I’ll Go Crazy” … “Try Me” … “You’ve Got the Power” … “Think” … “If You Want Me” … “I Don’t Mind” … “Bewildered” …the million dollar seller, “Lost Someone” … the very latest release, “Night Train” … let’s everybody “Shout and Shimmy” … Mr. Dynamite, the amazing Mr. Please Please himself, the star of the show, James Brown and The Famous Flames!!”

 

– James Brown introduction for “Live at the Apollo” by M.C. Fats Gonder

 

Often, when a person achieves any marked level of cultural stature he or she is bestowed by his admirers with a name that succinctly captures their accomplishments and persona. In the early 20th century, professional boxer Jim Corbett was dubbed by the media as “Gentleman Jim” while local Chicago gangster Al Capone got his moniker “Scarface” after his face was slashed three times during a fight in Brooklyn. In the jazz world Billie Holiday was nicknamed “Lady Day” by her friend and musical partner Lester Young while rock guitar impresario Eric Clapton was bestowed the nickname “Slowhand” not due to slow pattern of his playing but according to fellow Yardbird’s bandmate Chris Dreja due to audiences giving him a “slow clap” while he changed his broken guitar strings during live sets.

 

A good case to in point show James Brown’s immense influence on American music and culture that he most likely carried more nicknames during his long career than any other artist. From his childhood of poverty in South Carolina where he was known simply as “Junior” Brown went on to perform with childhood friend (and later band mate) Bobby Byrd during his adolescence where he got the nickname “Music Box”. Throughout the rest of his amazingly creative career Brown would be known either as the “Hardest Working Man in Show Business”, “Mr. Please Please Please”, “Butane James”, “Soul Brother Number One”, “Skates”, the “Godfather of Soul”, “His Own Bad Self”, the “Sex Machine”, “Black Elvis”, the “Minister of the New New Super Heavy Funk”, the “Original Disco Man” and “Universal James”.

 

To pay proper tribute to Brown’s career that spanned over six decades, his place in the pantheon of American popular music and his overreaching influence that is still reverberating today Maria’s Packaged Goods & Community Bar is hosting “Make It Funky! – The Music of James Brown” on Friday, May 3, the 80th anniversary of his birth. Hosted by “Soul Brother #54” Joe Bryl “Make It Funky!” will cover the various shades of Brown’s musical output from his early R&B recordings with the Fabulous Flames on the King and Federal labels, his commercial breaking chart topping hits like “Papa’s Got A Brand New Bag” and “I Got You (I Feel Good)”, Sweat” to his syncopated funky bass line and drum breaks that heralded the first funk recording of “Cold Sweat” in 1967 (these danceable riffs stripped to their minimal essence are what Brown referred to as “The One”). Our musical journey will continue following Brown’s various band member’s realignments including the important addition of Bootsy and Phelps Collins, St.  Clair Pinckney, and John Starks during the seventies.

 

Any tribute to James Brown could not forget his supporting players and sidemen including Maceo Parker, Fred Wesley & the J.B.s, the fore-mentioned Bobby Byrd, Lynn Collins, Vicki Anderson and Hank Ballard (often recording on Brown’s own People label) besides covering his later years which saw Brown still fighting for supremacy in a musical landscape that was slowly being dominated by disco. By 1984, Brown teamed with rap musician Afrika Bambaattaa on the song, “Unity” and a year later signed with Scotti Brothers Records and issued the moderately successful album, Gravity, in 1986, which included Brown’s final Top 10 pop hit, “Living in America”, marking his first Top 40 entry since 1974 and his first Top 10 pop entry since 1968.

 

There most likely will never be an artist like James Brown again in American popular music. Larry Neal, poet and scholar who helped to define the Black Power era was an unabashed fan of Brown. Neal so wonderfully rendered Brown’s power and influence when he wrote . . .

 

“Listen to James Brown scream. Ask yourself, then: Have you ever heard a Negro poet sing like that? Of course not, because we have been tied to texts. The text could be destroyed and no one would be hurt in the least. We began to listen to the music of the rhythm and blues people, soul music . . . the big hero of the poets was James Brown. We all thought that James Brown was a magnificent poet, and we all envied him and wish we could do what he did. If the poets could do that, we could take over America.”

 

We will also be screening rare video footage from James Brown’s various live concerts from all corners of the globe as a special added attraction. So, open up the door and let yourself in and we say it loud, “We love James Brown & we’re proud!” The jams start  poppin’ @ 8PM. Just get up, get into it and get involved, you super badd sex machine.

James-Brown
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