While the dust settles and Past Daily gets back to normal, I thought I would try and get things back up to speed with a classic concert by the legendary James Brown, recorded in Lausanne, Switzerland in 1973.
Anyone who ever had the chance to see James Brown during his heyday will attest to the well-worn fact that he was “the Hardest Working Man in Show Business” – and he was also “Mr. Dynamite” – boastful superlatives, but in his case, they were absolutely true. A James Brown show was more than just James Brown; it was an entire revue of acts, solos from members of his top-notch band, and generally a complete evening of music and energy, all coming from Mr. Dynamite himself.
If, for some odd reason, you don’t know who James Brown is – there are books about him, practically an entire library devoted to this extraordinary and versatile artist, through various stages in his career. But for a thumbnail sketch, here are a few words from his Wikipedia page – the bio on his website is thorough and well worth the read.
Brown began his career as a gospel singer in Toccoa, Georgia. He joined an R&B vocal group, the Gospel Starlighters (which later evolved into the Flames) founded by Bobby Byrd, in which he was the lead singer. First coming to national public attention in the late 1950s as a member of the singing group The Famous Flames with the hit ballads “Please, Please, Please” and “Try Me”, Brown built a reputation as a tireless live performer with the Famous Flames and his backing band, sometimes known as the James Brown Band or the James Brown Orchestra. His success peaked in the 1960s with the live album Live at the Apollo and hit singles such as “Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag“, “I Got You (I Feel Good)” and “It’s a Man’s Man’s Man’s World“. During the late 1960s he moved from a continuum of blues and gospel-based forms and styles to a profoundly “Africanized” approach to music-making that influenced the development of funk music. By the early 1970s, Brown had fully established the funk sound after the formation of the J.B.s with records such as “Get Up (I Feel Like Being a) Sex Machine” and “The Payback”. He also became noted for songs of social commentary, including the 1968 hit “Say It Loud – I’m Black and I’m Proud“. Brown continued to perform and record until his death from pneumonia in 2006.
Brown recorded 17 singles that reached number one on the Billboard R&B charts. He also holds the record for the most singles listed on the Billboard Hot 100 chart which did not reach number one. Brown has received honors from many institutions, including inductions into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Songwriters Hall of Fame. In Joel Whitburn’s analysis of the Billboard R&B charts from 1942 to 2010, James Brown is ranked as number one in The Top 500 Artists. He is ranked seventh on the music magazine Rolling Stone’s list of its 100 greatest artists of all time. Rolling Stone has also cited Brown as the most sampled artist of all time.
Enjoy this sample of 1973 from Soul Brother Number 1.