There'll never be another one like him. Dude rocked it so hard, he stripped paint off walls three states away. His funk, his groove was so deep he impregnated ladies on the other side of the globe without ever meeting 'em. His band, the dude's band, was unquestionably the tightest, the freakiest, the funkiest, the baddest, the hardcorest band on the planet--hands down.
The passing of James Brown is less the passing of a mere musician. It's the passing of an icon, a legend, a hero, an ambassador...the Godfather. To me, it marks the end of a career that is only eclipsed by, perhaps, only Beethoven and Lennon in terms of the impact his life made on music--popular or otherwise.
The man basically birthed hip hop and the resulting 25+ years of popular music. Without question, he's unmatched as the most commonly sampled artist in the history of the game and no one will ever touch him. In fact, they're still counting. It's funny, I was reading a retrospective put up by MSN outlining his most important records and what I found were two incredible omissions. I mean, you can't have a James Brown list without "Funky Drummer" and "Funky President." If there was a sample that was the absolute spine from bottom to top of the hip hop generation, it was the break from "Funky Drummer." And "Funky President," while not as popular in the sampled realm, still has hundreds of hip hop records crediting it. MSN's list sucks.
I'm sitting here listening to Brown's In a Jungle Groove over a tall cup of coffee watching Fox News talk about, not his music, but his widow who is locked out of the estate because Brown's lawyer insisted it be locked. Dude, who cares?
Meanwhile, In a Jungle Groove is a phenomenal record and should be in enjoyed in any format.
I know it's a fitting tribute, but far short of what needs to be said of James Brown. I'd rather just include a link to his show-stopping performance of "Popcorn." Watch this and just try to tell me he wasn't the best. Also, notable performance by Maceo Parker. Just watch the damn clip. It's only four minutes long. Dude gave you 50 years, you can give him four minutes.
Go buy armfuls of James Brown records and have a great week. The list is coming.