The Godfather of Soul died today. He was 73. James Brown was one of the most influential figures in American pop culture history. Link to Wikipedia bio, and here's coverage in the NYT. Here are some links to vintage video of him in performance: Eyesight, Super Bad, I Feel Good, It's A Man's World, Please Please, Sex Machine, at the Olympia, Soul Power, Ed Sullivan, and an unusual TV interview (shorter clip here) Mr. Brown did when he was in a chemically altered state of consciousness after having been released from jail.
Reader comment: Andrew Tonkin says,
FYI James recorded a song called "Christmas in Heaven" (Amazon Link) - creepy man, it's like he KNEW.Here's an MP3 of "Christmas in Heaven" via Loudersoft: Link.
Scott Eric Kaufman says,
If you haven't, you ought to read the article Jonathan Lethem (author of the superlative Fortress of Solitude) wrote on Brown for Rolling Stone.Eric says,
WFMU did an amazing six-hour special on James Brown on Christmas exactly five years ago, streamable from their archive in a variety of formats and bitrates: LinkR. Chonak says,
Loudersoft's servers are overloaded now, so BB readers can't get to that James Brown MP3. However, it's available via Coral's servers: MP3 linkrobby staven says,
This youtube link is Eddie Murphy doing James Brown. This bit turned a lot of young folks on to James when he wasn't at a really high point in his career. It arguably was the basis for James' 1980s-'90s comeback.Jordie
This youtube video is a great and weird link of him making a Japanese soup commercial. Good bye you old funkmeister.Yoz says,
The man behind that six-hour WMFU set, music journalist Douglas Wolk, also wrote a short but excellent book (Amazon Link) about "Live At The Apollo", one of the best live albums ever recorded. Despite not being a big James Brown fan, I really enjoyed it. Douglas will also be doing a short piece about Brown tomorrow on Democracy Now.Stacey
Another James Brown-related item few people are aware of: JB (James Brown)-style roller skating (YouTube link). Originating in Chicago, this style of skating responds to the unique rhythms and breaks of James Brown's music. Groups of JB skaters hit a different rink nearly every night of the week to show their stuff. On Thursdays at "The Rink" on 87th St, or Sunday nights at Glenwood, there's barely room on the floor. I discovered the JB skating scene (and rediscovered Brown's music) when I was training to try out for a roller derby league. My only regret about making the derby league is that I no longer have time to see (I am nowhere near agile enough to "do") JB skating.Nigel says,
If you're in SF on any Sunday don't miss the skaters in Golden Gate Park dancing like those in the JB youtube video. I had no idea it was called JB skating, just that it is amazing to watch. I took my son (6) to the park recently and one of the skaters took him under her wing and was holding his hand as he skated around with all of the other dancers/skaters. He had so much fun and even started doing his own moves. The skaters are incredible athletes and nice folks to boot!
Boing Boing editor/partner and tech culture journalist Xeni Jardin hosts and produces Boing Boing's in-flight TV channel on Virgin America airlines (#10 on the dial), and writes about living with breast cancer. Diagnosed in 2011. @xeni on Twitter. email: firstname.lastname@example.org.