James Brown memory: "God bless you, son" to young

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James Brown memory: "God bless you, son" to young

Messagepar JoeKelley » 28/12/06 23:38

When Gi Dussault and myself were preparing for our six hour drive to Montreal last Friday, Gary Hines of Sounds of Blackness said remember to bring some James Brown CDs. Got to have some funk for the long ride. We were at a great party on Dec. 24th in downtown Montreal with our family. Kind of a funk/disco themed gala.

As we were waiting for our ride in the lobby, I sat down and started to read the local music newspaper. On the cover was a small picture of James Brown with a bigger story inside. The journal was hyping an upcoming Jan. 3rd James Brown show at the Metropolis. I thought to myself James was still sharp as ever with his monogrammed bowtie.

Next morning, I was laying down in bed and listening to the local radio newcast. The announcer made a brief announcement of James Brown passing at the age of 73. Whew, I don't think I've cried like that in a long time. But it is time to celebrate the life and music of music of Mr. James Brown.

Back in 1983, I had the great honor of meeting James Brown. I was a 19 year old deejay at AM 1450 WNAB in Bridgeport, Connecticut.
James Brown and Wilson Pickett were playing a two show gig at the American Shakespeare Theater in Stratford, Connecticut. I was filling in on-air for Ted Brown, host of the R&B show at night. Ted was emceeing the Brown/Pickett concerts.

After wrapping up my show, I drove over to the concert venue where they were in between shows. Ted Brown asked me if I wanted to meet Wilson and James. I said sure and first met Wilson Pickett. Next, we strode over to Brown's dressing room. And, James warmly greeted us and shook my hand and said, "God bless you, son.". That was too cool !! Always ready to look dynamite, James had his hair up in curlers prepping for the nightcap show.

We went upstairs and hung out behind the stage curtain with James' band. James' third wife was backstage too and if memory serves me correct, she had a nice shiny bling (did we call it that back then :-))) on one of her fingers. James' guitar player was real cool with us and we made plans to hang out after the show. But you know showbiz, show ends and the bus has to move to another city. I do remember one last thing about that night. One of James' bandmates was smoking a cigarrette right before they were going to go onstage. Brown walked by and sternly said to him, "Put that out. " Brother ran a tight ship but that's why it rode so smoothly.

Personally, James Brown has given me so many goosebump moments from the funk, the dancing, musicianship and aura. Plus, he was a stellar balladeer. Underrated in my opinion. And, I can't tell you how many times musicians have referenced James Brown to me in interviews or personal conversations. I asked Jellybean Johnson of the Time how did he learn the drums. Jellybean quickly said, "James Brown records." Bean even called my house one day and was so pumped about a show that he and his Minneapolis musician friends did the previous night. He said they did a 20 minute version of Brown's "The Payback" . I think Prince even jumped onstage to play a bit.

When Sheila E. appeared on my radio show a few years ago, I complimented her about a picture inside her CD. She was pictured playing an acoustic guitar and I asked her if she played the guitar. She said a little bit and had the James Brown guitar licks down pat.

Musicians speaking highly of other musicians really holds validity in my book. Chris Frantz and Mystic Bowie of the Tom Tom Club had gone to see James Brown a couple years ago in NYC at BB King's Blues Club and they were still raving about James' prowess onstage.

Thank You James Brown. We love ya!!!!


Joe Kelley
"Upper Room with Joe Kelley and Gi Dussault"
Radio and TV show

LIVE Mondays 4-8 pm EST
WVOF 88.5 FM in Fairfield, CT

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Wonder B
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Messagepar Wonder B » 29/12/06 05:09

Great stories Joe... Made me feel like I was right with you when you met James back in 83...
Wonder B
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Messagepar Funkygirl » 29/12/06 10:05

Hi Joe nice report and hommage

I have already opened a topic : http://www.funkhome.com/james-you-ll-sh ... t5320.html

All the funk community lost a member of his family on this 25th December 2006 :???:

Much love to you and Gi ...
Funkygirl ==> I'm a White Free Passionated Funkateer and I'm Proud !

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