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Monday, December 25, 2006

More on the loss of Soul Brother No.1.....

First off, talking about James Brown's death is a very difficult thing. I was always most proud of the fact that Mr. Brown was a former resident of my hometown of Saint Albans, Queens. The Godfather's house (which still stands today) was the only one that actually possessed a moat. I believe those who are real music aficionados know that on many levels, there is an assumption that our music heroes will always remain alive for our immediate enjoyment. And as expected, no more than 24 hours after the legend's death, I remain disheartened, angry and disappointed. Some of the local NY radio stations(those of course geared toward the older R&B/Soul demographic) are playing Mr. Brown's classics, but the hip hop stations appear to be aloof in this regard thus far. Why wouldn't a hip hop station take a break from the programmed routine, and play Brown's music out of respect and reverence-music that was so instrumental in the very development of the genre?

And so it begins....the contempt, ignorance and disrespect of a legend. Inarguably, hip hop may not have reached the height of popular culture without James Brown's influence. I remember friends and colleagues jokingly (but truthfully) commenting during hip hop's infancy, how crucial it was for a hip hop song to require a James Brown break beat in order for it to be considered a true hit. If one were to listen closely, James Brown's presence can be heard and felt from hip hop's inception to the present. I would also submit that modern pop music, crossing a litany of genres, permeates with Jamesisms. Prince (who has to take the mantle at this point), Michael Jackson and any number of rock & rollers have emulated, if not out right stolen, James Brown's gift of showmanship as well as his unique brand of audience participation. Again, we have lost yet another bedrock in our musical tradition with very few heirs and musical future that is extremely bleak. We have already lost Luther, Lou(Rawls), Ray, Ruth Brown, Barry(White) and now James Brown- leaving the public with talentless refuse. I have never stopped playing Mr. Brown's music as my tastes are varied and ecclectic. You will be missed Mr. Brown-I'm betting heaven just got a little bit funkier. Do yourself a favor and click on the link below, it's a December 05' James Brown concert available for download via NPR's website.

James Brown in Concert

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