Saturday, August 23, 2014

James Brown Song Test

Some critics have argued that in making rhythm so important and de-emphasizing melody and harmony as much as he did that James Brown routinely created or sang songs that all pretty much sounded alike, regardless of what the actual lyrics or title said. I disagree with this but even I must admit that on some tunes it could occasionally be a task to ascertain what James Brown was actually saying. Some relatives have even jokingly had the audacity to tell me that once you got past the "Maceo will you blow?" and constant "Uhhhh!" and "Hit me Fred!" exhortations nobody actually knew lyrics or titles to James Brown songs because they were too busy dancing to try to decipher Brown's grunts. Hmm. It's not well known but actually James Brown and I were very close friends. You could say that he was a godfather to me. It's only now that I can share the story of the night that James Brown and I had dinner together. You might say we had a funky good time. Ahem. How funky are you? Every single sentence in the (100% accurate, completely true to life and certainly not at all entirely made up from whole cloth during a remarkably boring mid afternoon conference call) story below the fold has at least one James Brown or related artist song title/lyric embedded within. There are over 35 songs/lyrics contained. How many can you find? Are you on the One? Are you a true Godfather devotee with plenty of funk in your trunk or are you just moseying through life faking the funk (or using Google)? Are you Sir Nose D'voidoffunk? We'll see. ;-))
There was a time when I had dinner with James Brown. He said hello my brother and told me that we were going to have a funky good time. We prayed for soul power. We started the dinner with a chili appetizer that made Mr. Brown break out in a cold sweat. Then he said I got to move and danced like a sex machine. His wife asked him what he wanted to eat now and he said he didn't care as long as she would make it funky. She bought in some shish-kebab barbecue so that Mr. Brown could eat from the licking stick. Starting to discuss politics, Mr. Brown said we should say it loud, I'm Black and I'm proud. I asked him about political corruption but he interrupted saying that you could have Watergate, just give me some bucks and I'll be straight. I disagreed, saying that we all needed to get up, get into it and get involved. But Mr. Brown claimed that I was simply talking loud and saying nothing. Moving the discussion to women's rights, I said it's a new day. Mr. Brown's wife interjected, stating that it was still a man's man's man's world. Mr. Brown smiled at his wife, joking that papa don't take no mess. His wife said that's true dear but I got you and I feel good. Mr. Brown said he liked her hotpants. Interrupting before the couple decided to get it together, I asked them to pass the peas. I told them to either give it up or turn it loose in regards to the gravy. When Mrs. Brown brought out the macaroni and cheese, I said gimme some more. Mr Brown didn't like pasta so he had the mashed potatoes.
After dinner, when Mr. Brown inquired about my career path, I told him I don't want nobody to give me nothing, just open up the door and I'll get it myself. He approved, saying if you don't get it the first time, back up and try it again. I angrily said that I was paying taxes but what am I buying? Mr. Brown said that like him I had paid the cost to be the boss. He told me no matter what happened to stay superbad and keep on doing it to death. I told Mr. Brown and his wife I enjoyed breaking bread with them but it was time I left. Mr. Brown offered me some dessert and said please, please, please don't go. I said you can't try me like that because if I stay I'll go crazy. Mr. Brown said if I absolutely had to get up offa that thing then he understood. He said since you've been gone so long I got this gold plated Gucci tote as a gift for you. I told Mr Brown that I hadn't owned anything that nice since before I was down and out in New York City. Mr. Brown said to consider this bag the payback for an evening of conversation. His wife told me to accept it because papa's got a brand new bag. Waving goodbye, Mr. Brown said I got the feeling we'll talk again. At the train station while trying to balance the popcorn box I was eating from I accidentally dropped the tote on my left foot. I swore saying you got to have a mother for me! But I knew how to get on the good foot. I hopped on the night train and came home.

0 to 4 songs found: Sadly you're funk deprived and may even be a Pat Boone fan. Please don't dance in public.
5 to 9 songs found: Damn right you're somebody but a funk expert you're not.
10 to 20 songs found: I know you got soul!
21 or more songs found: You're a made member of the Funk Mob and are truly superbad!
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