Thursday, July 29, 2010

The James Brown Revolution

James Brown released an album decades ago who's title announced the 70's ethos in screaming , feel good disco beats:

Man oh man, I thought when I first came across that disc, flipping through albums at a Wherehouse Records somewhere in the San Diego beach area, this brother was about to implore us all to forget the past and to live for the moment and and create a path to a rosy picture but was overwhelmed, shoe-tips to  fingered pinky, but a core primal nature the refused to let himself get preachy beyond a few monosyllables. Forget everything else, forget the revolution, the high interest on easy credit loans, the lack of money when the bills are paid, the unjust wars,the lack of gasoline, the ugliness of buildings staring down on your gaping mouth as you look up toward the cloud with the wondering of when will it rain money, it was time to dance, to frolic, to make the groove paramount in how one conducted themselves.

Dancing trumped every concern, and one didn't conduct themselves in any fashion, as that implies a measured, contrived and controlling manner of being in the world our spirits were forced to endure--it was a script, false, predictable, tested in the laboratories of predictability. James Brown always of using that microphone as a weapon when he was self-inducing one of his performance nervous breakdowns--right at the point when he was on his knees and his valet put the retirement cape over his shoulder--I'd seen this act a few times on television shows during the mid to late sixties--one wished he'd break the habit of the scripted break down and seize the moment with some genuine, crazed, hyena-eyed storm-bringing: GRAB THAT MICROPHONE AND SLAM THE BASE INTO THE VALET'S GUT! UTTER SOMETHING PROFOUND AND BASIC AND FREE OF VALUE TO AN AUDIENCE THAT EXPECTED TO BE ENTERTAINED IN ALL THE CONVENTIONAL DISGUISES FOR DISGUST.

Brothus and sistahs, wonez upon atime in a cassle so fine erwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwHHHHHHHHHHHgggggggggggggggggggggdigittty DooooRannnnnnygumption, yeahhhhhhhh, heh, hit me, hit me gain, up onna bridge, bidge, yassuh, a manz gotta slop sum stumbling facehangdown groanfactgor yassuh! Hitme again, yeabh ,babbybabybaby, eewwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwweeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeh, heh!"
We might assume that there are cameras at this mythical point in JB's career, this point where his harnessed intensity broke beyond the conceretized limits of language and propriety and made him into a garroting example of what happens when the last brick finally falls from the last wall between chaos and organized ennui. The cameras would follow the crazed soul singer to the parking lot , where he screamed about magpies under a yellow, sodium street lamps. He would get into a car and then drive off , at once, at eighty, ninety, a hundred miles an hour, careening for a hundred miles, blasting the classical station and screaming the words of "It's a Man's World" while the static-prone station filtered a guitar quartet plucking out Bach organ solos while every abandoned furniture factory and machine shop in the Midwest sped by. State and local police, of course, were in close pursuit, and the result of all this confusion was a big dance party at the end of the highway, in the empty lot by the Piggly Wiggly and the TuVu Drive in, where Farrah Fawcett was on the screen in the film "Sunburn". The commotion, caused by car engines, car radios and James Brown screaming, yet again, into a bull horn about Teddy Kennedy and the Boat, caused the movie to burn and melt as it shown on the giant screen. Car horns galore blasted as drink cups and boxes of pop corn dotted the night sky.


  1. Heading down Garnet from Earth not the planet Earth but the Earth nightclub where I saw Barclay James Harvest open for Procol Harum last weekend and it was raaad… heading west with a glide in my stride shoulders in a honeyroll slump back with that pink shrimp bend almost truckin with my shoes doin the R Crumb stomp and a sick grin on my face yeah natch keep up appearances when the fuckin world is caving in … Nixon and Agnew are on their way to getting a big fat fourmoreyears pass to the White House tomorrow and George McGovern’s gonna eat peacecreep shit in an avalanche cause the decent whitebread American people don’t wanna end the War don’t wanna give peace a chance to grow like a tender little flower through a crack in the cement of their souls don’t wanna help the poor man no they just wanna eat that stoop-labored lettuce till it comes outta their assholes and watch Lawrence Fuckin Welk spank bubbles with his wand while gook babies get fried in napalm and they definitely DON’T WANNA help the brothers in Watts or Logan get justice cause they can’t dance to save their shriveled up scrotums and milkdry tits nossir… So what can I do but make tracks like a truckin fool all the way down to Maynards or the Crystal Pier and watch the bloody sun crack open like a chicken egg in the deep green sea and maybe smoke some Senor Thirteeeeen and get mellow slow like Jerry would say because mellow is a man’s last defense like the dirty diapers of Sweet Baby James and that whole sleepy eye droopy ‘stache thing that the girls dig or maybe do a Jesus number as long as it’s laid-back and just awrite with me no heavy 10-C trip just that blissed out granola thing sandals and a robe maybe some oats and crunchy granola like Melanie with a beard, right…

    Stop by the Happy House card shop to get a condolence card to send to the human race for re-electing fuckin Nixonagnew…open the door and there’s these shelves of crystal knickknacks swans and little horses and shit and plastic flowers in a bowl, rows and rows of cards full of smiley words have a nice day marriage birth funeral just don’t never stop smiling…wait…they’re playing THE CARPENTERS over the muzak system and my pulse has been cut in half…Karen’s voice is biting into my mind like big white teeth into a brick of cream-cheese, slow, creamy with lots of virginal saliva her tongue licking up the residue on my brain pan…don’t you remember you told me you loved me baby…yeah I always wanted you I always wanted that Velveeta wedding night with the bride on the wedding cake and a tub of Cool-Whip for a bed and a mellow plastic molten fuck to last for a century…and all of a sudden comes that one piano chord from the bottom of the Grand Canyon…BONNNNNNNNNNNNNNNG…and it’s Nixon and Agnew throwing shovels full of dirt on my coffin and the lady at the Happy House counter is smiling and she is looking into my eyes and she doesn’t want to sell me a card she wants to eat the heart of out my chest but do it slow and mellow…

    I just woke up. It’s Election Day. God Bless America, baby.

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