Wednesday, June 22, 2005

32 Songs - Track 21

I Got You - James Brown

I feel good
I knew that I would now
I feel good
I knew that I would now
So good, so good, I got you!

No matter where you are on the planet chances are if you pick up a daily newspaper somewhere in it will be a list of notable people born on this day.

Sometime in primary school (when these things are important) I looked in the paper and discovered that I shared a birthday with the Grandfather of Soul James Brown. I knew of the singer but didn’t know much. On a trip to Singapore with my Grandmother I came across a copy of Live at The Apollo for 1 Singapore dollar in a street market I bought it to listen to on my spanking new walkman (for those keeping score the other tapes I bought were Dire Straits’ Making Movies, the Ghostbusters soundtrack and some best of compilation).

Despite tinny earphones and a cheap pirate cassette Brown’s performance radiates with the energy of the sun. I am quite certain that only the dead would be able to keep still at a James Brown concert and even they might be compelled to dance again.

James Brown still lives, i almost quit my job so i could see him perform not long ago, but i find myself repeatedly refering to him in the past tense. And i do this because he has fallen victim to the uncurable condition that often occurs to those who have great success, human weakness. The crimes and misdemeanors he has been associated with are many, and often tawdry, and they have sucked the light out of this glowing beacon. It happens to many and those of us who have great affection for these fallen idols often employ a sense of selected amnesia so our memory remainse pure.

Part of me was glad that i never got to see Brown perform on stage. It would have been a catastrophic let down because he is no longer the man who tore up The Apollo dozens of times, the great perfectionist who had the best backing musicians going and drilled them into such a tight outfit that they could have stolen the show if James Brown was anyone else. The instrumental breaks in Live At The Apollo have to be heard to be believed.

To pick one James Brown track to go on this list wasn’t that hard. The driving horns of I Got You put it right up there as one of my favourite songs. I Got You is fun, frivolous, tight as a drum and guaranteed to make me shake my booty.

Just the way James would want to be remembered.


Post a Comment

<< Home