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James Brown (1933 - 2006)

Lifespan: 1933 - 2006

Related: funk - soul - American music - black music

James Brown

Biography

James Brown (born May 3, 1933, Barnwell, South Carolina some sources list his year of birth as 1928 and his birthplace as Pulaski, Tennessee) is one of the most important figures in twentieth-century music and a prime influence in the evolution of gospel and rhythm and blues into soul and funk. As a singer, dancer and bandleader, he has influenced popular musicians since the 1960s. He has been cited as an influence by musicians in many genres, including rock, soul, jazz, R&B, and hip-hop. Among other things, his quick ascent to icon status in the musical community can be attributed to his rejection of industry stereotypes. Also, Soul Brother Number One was a symbol of self-motivation and achievement in spite of racism for Black Americans. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Brown_%28musician%29 [Feb 2005]

The "funky drummer" break - James Brown

In the Jungle Groove (1969-1971) - James Brown [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

The "funky drummer" break is one of the most used sampled drum loops in hip-hop and drum and bass music, together with the amen break, which is more related to drum-and-bass. The original song from which the break is sampled is James Brown's song "Funky Drummer" (recorded November 20, 1969 in Cincinnati, Ohio). The drums on the original song are played by Clyde Stubblefield, who was the drummer for Brown's band at that time. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Funky_drummer [Mar 2005]

Clyde Stubblefield is a drummer best known for his work with James Brown. He may be the most widely sampled (yet uncompensated) musician in the world - his "Funky drummer" groove was ubiquitous in the late 1980s/early 1990s. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clyde_Stubblefield [Mar 2005]

see also: breaks - drummer - James Brown - sample - loop - 1969 - drum and bass

From Soul to Funk

In the late '60s, funk emerged from soul.

A Profile

Soul Brother Number One, the Godfather of Soul, the Hardest Working Man in Show Business, Mr. Dynamite those are mighty titles, but no one can question that James Brown has earned them more than any other performer. Other singers were more popular, others were equally skilled, but no other African-American musician has been so influential on the course of popular music in the past several decades. And no other musician, pop or otherwise, put on a more exciting, exhilarating stage show Brown's performances were marvels of athletic stamina and split-second timing.

Fela Kuti

Eno said in 1988. "I'd heard James Brown and understood what that was about. Then I heard Fela, and he was an African who listened to James Brown. And he'd taken what James was doing, but really extrapolated it in a big way.

Kool Herc

DJ Kool Herc: ... My favorite artist was James Brown. That's who inspired me ...

Sampling

There are obviously ethical considerations here --it's easy to understand James Brown's outrage as his uncredited beats and screams underpin much of today's black music-- but at its best, today's new digital, or integrated analog and digital, technology can encourage a free interplay of ideas, a real exchange of information. Most recording studios in the U.S. and Europe will have a sampler and a rack of CDs: a basic electronic library of Kraftwerk, James Brown, Led Zeppelin --today's Sound Bank. [...]

Funk

... the musical output of black America around 1970 had changed towards funk - music which was still by predominantly black artists but generally not 4/4 (on the one and the three - James Brown would famously say. Although Brown is known as the 'Godfather of Soul', his musical style defines the difference between soul and funk - his being funk - in British cultural terminolgy, his music being harder and more guitar based and unlike the swirling string and brass sections of the 1960's upbeat soul)

Recording Studio

"...ever since Miles Davis and James Brown transferred their primary creative space from stage to studio, the most succesful musical form in the popular arena has been the dance-groove : where cycles of rhythm, circling ever back to their beginnings, allow for small shifts and changes within the structure to bring with them remarkable shock-force." (Hopey Glass in The Wire).

Fave Tracks

  • James Brown - There was a Time (1967/8)
  • James Brown - Give It Up Or Turn It Loose (1969)

    CDs

  • James Brown Funky People vol 1 [Amazon US]
    1. Gimme Some More - The JBs 2. Pass The Peas - The JBs 3. Think (About It) - Lyn 'The Female Preacher' Collins 4. Givin' Up Food For Funk (Part 1) - The JBs 5. Mama Feelgood - Lyn 'The Female Preacher' Collins 6. Hot Pants Road - The JBs 7. Rock Me Again & Again & Again & Again & Again & Again - Lyn 'The Female Preacher' Collins 8. Damn Right, I Am Somebody (Parts 1 & 2) - Fred Wesley & The JBs 9. Take Me Just As I Am - Lyn 'The Female Preacher' Collins 10. If You Don't Get It The First Time, Back Up And Try It Again, Party - Fred Wesley & The JBs 11. Parrty (Part 1) - Maceo & The Macks 12. (It's Not The Express) It's The JBs Monaurail (Part 1) - Fred & The New JBs 13. Same Beat (Part 1) - Fred Wesley & The JBs

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