Say it loud, I知 black and I知 proud. 2010

Say it loud, I知 black and I知 proud.

James Brown sang those words to the entire nation.

Even the KKK heard, but back in the 1960s not everyone was listening to the singer of PLEASE PLEASE ME, since black music could only be heard on the far ends of the AM radio spectrum. I twisted the knob beyond WMEX and Arnie Ginsberg to find a universe of music unknown to top 40 radio. Station WILD. Wilson Pickett, Sam and Dave, Booker T, Tina Turner, and James Brown. Civil rights meant freedom for the soul. Blacks were welcome on TV. Ed Sullivan even, but no one was ready for James Brown on WHERE THE ACTION IS singing PAPA担 GOT A BRAND NEW BAG.

His mad feet swiveling across the stage killed my waltz lessons for good. My mother called it devil music and I became a dancing fiend. no Marvin Gaye. As a soon-to-be teenager, I knew if I could dance like James Brown, girls would go crazy and I tried to perfect his split.

Drop dead with your balls to the floor and then up again.

A miracle if you survived the first attempt

I got me a pair of black shiny pointed shoes. Just like James. A suit too. Black. My mother thought I was going to be a priest until she spotted the Cuban heels.

添ou池e bound for hell.

All I wanted to be was James Brown痴 Wonderbread double. My older brother thought I was crazy.

添ou池e never going sweat like him.

James Brown poured a typhoon of sweat night after night after night, because the Godfather of Soul was the hardest working showman in the world and he was more than that too.

But not to everyone.

Back in the day a feminist said that someone who hit his wife after she was huffing crack in his private bathroom and led the police on a Macon County car chase didn稚 deserve any accolades.

No one is 100% saint and JB didn稚 get Rodney King beating for that regrettable episode. He did time for the crime and his life was much bigger than one mistake.

April 4, 1968. Martin Luther King had been shot by an unknown assassin. James Brown had been scheduled to play the Boston Garden. The frightened city officials considered cancelling the concert, until the performer convinced them to televise the concert. Before the first song he dramatically appealed for the city to remain calm. Roxbury and Blue Hill Ave didn稚 go up in flames and the next day James Brown flew to DC to preach peace in the nation痴 #1 Chocolate City.

That show might have been broadcast in black and white, yet proved Poppa Peacemaker was one color.

的t痴 the night train.

Agent 00SOUL played the 1969 Newport Jazz Festival to thousands of hippies waiting for Led Zeppelin. My brother and I were two of them. Nipsy Russell primed the crowd with the dirtiest comedy routine this side of Moms Mabely and the master blasted the long-haired audience out of their seat with a two-hour performance. There were few sights uglier than hippies trying to dance to soul. Mr. Dynamite showed them the way. By the way Led Zeppelin sucked.

的 feel good.

What about Maceo Parker痴 JB horn section?

Tight. Everyone loved James.

Richard Nixon invited him to the White House in 1972.

的 don稚 care about your past.

James liked playing live.

In 1974 he appeared at Boston痴 Sugar Shack, a pimp club. I was the only longhair at the bar, but the stylish procurers welcomed a fellow fan with open bottles of champagne. I didn稚 attempt any splits and neither did anyone else.

Certainly not during IT担 A MAN WORLD.

We called out for PLEASE PLEASE ME as an encore and James Brown didn稚 disappoint us. He went down on his knees a dozen times with his MC putting the spangled cloak over his shoulders. Helped to his feet the show appeared over, but the Godfather was a big tease and loved the applause.

From everyone.

鄭in稚 no drag, poppa痴 got a brand new bag.

Wowing the Studio 54 disco crowd or inflaming a New Wave audience with soul the Mudd Club in 1978. Africa Bambatta spun SEX MACHINE thereafter to set the dancers feet on fire.

的 don稚 know karate, but I know crazor.

In 1979 I was working at a rock disco. Hurrah痴 on west 62nd Street. My bouncer was Jack Flood, an old Harlem gangster. The ex-heavyweight from Seattle drove a Lincoln and had hands the size of catcher mitts. The first time we met, Jack flicked his middle finger into my palm. An old homo sign.

This coming from a man who fought a six-round exhibition with Joe Louis in 1950.

的 lost every round.

We were friends. Jack and me. One night three Puerto Ricans tried to bust into the club. I punched their leader in the mouth. Jack laughed saying, 典hat was a love tap. Here痴 how you KO someone.

His punch paralyzed my shoulder for an hour.

After midnight I went upstairs to have a drink and came down with a cognac and coke for Jack only to find him and his nephew Marvin being stabbed by the PRs. They had come back with friends and knives. One slashed at me. Jack stopped him with a left and then pulled out a revolver. One shot into the ceiling. The PRs fled and Jack gave me his piece. He was bleeding in the chest. So was Marvin.

鉄hoot 粗m.

I ran outside and pointed the gun at the attackers.

I was no killer.

Two shots in the air.

They jumped into a taxi and disappeared with the cops in pursuit.

添ou done good. Get rid of the gun.

I went to the roof and dropped the revolver into an airshaft.

Jack stayed in the hospital a week. No charges were pressed. The police detective showed Jack痴 record. Long is not the word. When he got out of the hospital, I told him James Brown was playing at the Lone Star Cafe.

笛ames Brown. I know him.

I got tickets and Jack drove us downtown in the Lincoln. He didn稚 stop for lights and backed up on 5th Avenue against traffic without looking in his mirror. He parked the black car before a fire hydrant and we strolled to the door. The place was packed, but we noticed the bouncers weren稚 taking tickets and inside we gathered these tickets and sold them outside for $10 each.

We split $1000.

James show was 14 band members of soul bliss.

Afterwards Jack took me upstairs to the dressing room.

James greeted him, 的t痴 the Seattle Slaughter.

I shook the master痴 hand and Jack brought me out of the dressing room before I blubbered too much.

High point in my life along with shaking hands with Muhammad Ali and RFK and never paying taxes.

Jack and I hung out a lot and one night we were watching the 1st Roberto Duran/Sugar Ray Leonard fight. We had bet Duran and won about 2Cs each. As we were celebrating he tapped my shoulder.

典urn around and tell me if you recognize anyone.

I did.

It was the PR who had stabbed Jack.

的 got some business to do. Nothing to do with you.

Jack and Marvin vanished with the PR.

Didn稚 come back to the bar either.

That was New York 1979 and it was the end of an era. Jack Flood stayed up in Harlem. Marvin was shot dead in a basement. I moved to Paris.

Soul was dying and somehow people stopped listening by 1980. Disco didn稚 like live music, but James Brown kept it up and in 1982 he appeared in Hamburg Germany in front of 200 people. I was with a black pimp called Nigger Cali.

Almost as tough as Jack Flood.

Same show.

Knocked me dead and everyone else and within the year he appeared in ROCKY IV singing LIVING IN AMERICA and he never went out of style again. Everyone wanted to be James. Rev. Al Sharpton even Condeleeza Rice.

Same hair, n弾st pas?

敵et up of that thing and relieve that pressure.

But on Xmas the godfather left the show and I知 listening to HOT PANTS.


I ain稚 crying because James wasn稚 about the blues. He went out a showman.

的 love hot pants.

And so did Jack Flood.

And so do I.

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