[I posted this one up a while back, but with the Godfather of Soul's recent passing, I thought I'd put it up again in tribute. Rest in Peace.]
Whether you know him as Soul Brother Number One, Mr. Dynomite, the Funky President, the Hardest Working Man in Show Biz, or the Godfather of Soul, James Brown is James Brown is James Brown is James Brown.
If you live in LA, you might have heard that he was performing at the Hollywood Bowl, and I was fortunate enough to be invited to see the legendary James Brown perform (for the first time in public) his “Soul on Top” album.
To my surprise, at 73, James Brown still has all the moves, looks, and the same howls and yelps of his youth, and the audience knew it.
Having never heard the “Soul on Top” album, I was blown away by the 20 piece big band arrangements and his reinterpretation of jazz and pop standards. I can easily say this show was in my top 3 favorite concerts of all time. While he started off slowly with "Every Day I Have the Blues," he quickly picked up the show and by the end had the entire crowd and the 30 people onstange getting down to "Sex Machine."
Up until now, I’d been more familiar with James Brown as the Funky President in his time with the JBs. “Doing it to Death” and “Givin’ up Food for Funk” were the funk classics that always defined James Brown in my mind, but seeing him perform “Soul on Top” made me see and appreciate his versatile talents in a whole new light.
That said, “That’s my Desire” and “The Man in the Glass” stand out for me because they aren’t like many other songs you might hear in his catalog, so I'm including them here. Take a listen and you’ll hear why.
[MP3] James Brown :: That’s my Desire Hippo's Tracks:
[MP3] James Brown :: The Man in the Glass
[MP3] J-Rocc :: Live at the Do-Over (JB "Doin' it til Death")
[MP3] Salaam Remi :: James Brown 40th Anniversary Mix
For more background information on the “Soul on Top” concert and an interview with the Godfather of Soul himself, check out my favorite blog, soul-sides, here.