When James Brown first put the emphasis on the 1 – the downbeat – an essential element of funk was established. His percussive style of set him apart from those of his peers who, like him had emanated from Gospel. His call and response vamps, again taken from Gospel, brought a dynamism to the stage and invited his audience into the conversation. When James Brown took the vamp (what other artists did as an improvised section often around a single chord when a song was really flying) and presented that as the whole song – he changed songwriting forever and redefined what a song was!
At a time when other artists were desperately trying to crossover and break into white music – in order to get airplay on white TV and white radio, James Brown’s look and style and sound were emphatically black. He knew he didn’t have the smooth, Westernized looks of some of his peers. He was not the “acceptable face of black” to a color-phobic audience! So James Brown knew his only route to super-stardom was to be the best, and make himself the Godfather of Soul, Soul-brother number one and create a new genre at which only he could ever be the best! And that’s how he crossed over!
It’s widely known that James Brown was not the most virtuous or nicest guy to work for, play with or be around. But for his artistry, his incredible work ethic, and the inspiration of his artistry I have to say Vale James Brown, James Brown, JAAAAAAAMES BROWN!!
1964 on the TAMI show – Please, Please, Please
1965 Outta sight
1966 Papa’s got a brand new bag
1966 This is a man’s world
1969 Mother Popcorn
1971 – Sex Machine
1974 – Soul Power Medley – Payback – Cold Sweat – Say it Loud
1977 Get up offa that thing
1980 Too Funky in Here