WFMU Ichiban, Rock and Soul with Debbie D

Thursday, May 31, 2012

James Brown Month - Last Minute Entry

         

     I've been swamped with various nonsense this month, to the extent that I've been unable to participate in our celebration of James Brown. But I'm not going to let the month end without bringing you something...  but you may wish that I hadn't after hearing this rare gem!
     There's not a lot of information to be had about Ms. Farmer, but she lived with JB for a time in 1966-67 (one source suggests that she lived with him later, after he and his second wife Deirdre split up), and she only ever made one record, which debatably is one too many. This page on a seemingly-defunct message board has some anecdotes about her, and a batch of cool photos of James, from which I've stolen the photo below. Go check it out!

(L to R: "Jeannie" (last name unknown), Florence Farmer, JB, Terry Brown, Teddy Brown


Whiskey A Go Go

Rustic Rampage @ Fool's Paradise Twin !


THIS FRIDAY & SATURDAY ONLY !
REDNECKS !  CRACKERS !!  HILLBILLIES !!!
PEA-PICKERS !!!!
SO MANY COUSINS !   SO LITTLE TIME !! 
 
TWO THOUSAND MANIACS
(1964, dir. Herschel Gordon Lewis)  
B/W
HILLBILLY HOOKER 
(aka HONEY BRITCHES) 
(1971, dir. Donn Davison)


FULL SERVICE SNACK BAR
featuring: 
Tasty corndogs!  Refreshing beverages! Savory BBQ!
...and - for this engagement only - Mr. Pibb on tap!

*No Outside Food Or Drink*
 
THE FOOL'S PARADISE TWIN ACCEPTS
JAMES BROWN BLACK & BROWN STAMPS

JB_B&B_STAMP

James Brown Month Ends Today

R.I.P.

Reprinted by permission.  Copyright © Tim Jackson 2006.

Psychotronic Eats The New Yorker's Brain

It's getting strange out there. The latest issue of The New Yorker features "A Psychotronic Childhood," being a pocket autobiography by Colson Whitehead, one focusing on the author's lifelong affection for fleapit cinema. The Psychotronic Encyclopedia Of Film and its author, Michael Weldon, receive significant mention throughout. A thoughtful, non-ironic take on Ray Dennis Steckler's films and others of comparably Incredibly Strange persuasion is given significant column inches within the current issue of this bastion of snootiness. Go figure.

wizard of gore 
 "What is real? Are you certain you know what reality is?" - The Wizard Of Gore

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

King James Brown


James Brown Month: James Brown Says It Loud pt. 3 - Tell Me That You Love Me

Wrapping up our series on the loudest, craziest, least-in-control James Brown numbers ever (which, as you may recall, I have designated a subgenre all its own, "Free James Brown"), we arrive at the top of the heap, the apex of insane, the single wildest track JB ever laid down on wax. It's the B-Side of "Don't Be a Drop Out", "Tell Me That You Love Me".


It's a live cut, and if you lop off the 10 second intro, it's about a minute and a half long. A wild two guitar duel opens the show, and then the band and James come in, playing as fast and screaming as loud as they can possibly muster. There is no structure, a sudden stop in the middle eats up another couple of seconds, and the track fades out on just about the craziest scream JB or anyone ever screamt, which I believe might just be a loop of the crazy scream he screams right before the stop.  All in all, crazy. 

Apparently cobbled together from some live tapes by Bud Hobgood, Teo Macero style, this track is guaranteed to clear the floor of all but your bravest dancers while everyone else runs away holding their ears in pain.  SO GREAT.



Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Tassel Twirler Tuesday!



James Brown Month: Can I Get Some Help? - Give It Up or Turnit Loose

Here's a (to me) previously unknown, "Funky Drummer"-ish, instrumental version of "Give It Up Or Turnit Loose". I found it on an Iranian three song EP on the Top 4 label, and it's credited to the James Brown Band. The EP also has the standard versions of Sly and the Family Stone's "Thank You Falettin' Me Be Mice Elf Again" and Bill Moss's "Sock It to Me Soul Brother", so I assume that it was a fairly standard licensing deal, if there was any deal at all, that resulted in this record's release.  I have been unable to find any reference to it elsewhere. I don't, however, have absolute knowledge of every obscure Brown-involved cut ever recorded, and as far as I know this might just be tucked away on the corner of some obscure or not-so-obscure album or 45 I have overlooked, maybe under a different name.  The sound on this is slightly dim, typical for a 45 with about six minutes on a side. Would love to find a fuller sounding version. Anyone out there know of this version's appearance on a record other than this one?





Monday, May 28, 2012

Summer Boogaloo

Ichiban New Bin
Takeshi Terauchi & The Bunnys - Summer Boogaloo

Of course, Summer doesn't really start until June 24th, when the Summer Soul-stice airs!

James Brown Month: RJ Smith Interview Part III

The final installment of our interview with The One author RJ Smith.


ICHIBAN: How in the world did James Brown have time to do everything that he did for himself AND produce the number of records he produced for other people? Do you have any insights on how involved he was in productions, or was it more of a brand name thing?

RJ SMITH: My sense is those numerous productions happened every way possible – some were cut without him being anywhere NEAR the studio. Some were built on ideas he had talked out with the musicians, or with JB stopping by the studio without being much invested in the moment. And some happened with JB at the center of the action. Then again, as Jim Dickinson once told me, sometimes the guy who brings the coffee is the one who really produces the session – you never know what is going to be the catalyst. It’s a mystery.



"Needs more . . ."
ICHIBAN: You posit in the Dancer chapter of The One that Brown was a dancer first and had to make up music to go suit his movements. Do you think that this was a conscious or unconscious process? Also, are you aware of how much Brown was exposed to African music in the 50s and 60s? Was his piling of polyrhythms something he picked up from somewhere or was it kind of instinctively sui generis?

I think Brown got the attention he craved, and the sustenance he needed to survive, first from dancing, and a little later from singing. He learned he had a mastery over audiences first by moving to a rhythm.

An amazing thing – and maybe in the end, the most amazing thing – about Brown was how he carried the lore of the African diaspora as fully as anybody ever did. I think he was listening to everything, and was influenced by all kinds of things (I’m struck for instance by how every time he was coming to LA in the late 50s/early 60s, he seemed to get paired with a mambo band. Wonder what he took from that!) I suspect he heard a lot more African sounds coming through the Cuban and Puerto Rican music – boogaloo! – around him in the streets while he was living in NYC in the ‘60s than from whatever Afro pop itself he might have heard. I think his piling of poly-rhythms has everything to do with being a profoundly responsive African-American from the South – and not just any part of the South, but South Carolina, with a very particular role in the slave trade, and a very specific and rich slave culture. The mystery of the guy is how he became this clear channel signal for the culture of the slave south – it was fragmented and outlawed during and after slavery, yet James Brown put it all together and made America feel it. I bet he didn’t even totally know how it happened – I’m sure he never would have talked about it, because his most comfortable line on Africa’s influence on him was that while, sure, he heard some overlaps, he wasn’t playing African music, he was playing James Brown music! He wasn’t going to acknowledge anything beyond his own innate genius.



JB working a postage stamp


In this age where everything is recycled from the past, how in the world is it that JB's amazing TV show Future Shock is not available as a DVD box set?

You speak wisdom. I thought the film and whatever documentation of it were in the posession of Ted Turner, who apparently would sometimes come in from a night of Atlanta partying and hang out with Brown on the set. But someone recently suggested that CNN now owns the recordings as part of the deal that Turner signed over. It kills me that this stuff is not on DVD, accompanied by a deluxe booklet with notes by Pete Relic and Questlove. Not right.



somebody hook a doctor up


What, to your mind, is the last great James Brown recording/single?

One day when I was sitting in court in Aiken, SC listening to lawyers and family members arguing about who should get what, they started complaining about the alleged disappearance of a number of masters found in Brown’s pool house. Among them was a master recording of Johnny Paycheck! How the heck could that be? Since then I’ve wondered if JB and JP did some kind of thing together. Maybe THAT’s the last great Brown recording. 



Mind. Blown. GET READY YOU MOTHERS, FOR THE BIG PAYCHECK!
One of the great JB divas who does not make an appearance in The One is Lyn Collins. Did you hear any good stories about her?


Regarding Lyn Collins, I recall her complaining in an interview in a British magazine that Brown had installed a telephone, like a hotline, in his house so that he could be in constant communication with her and know her every movement. She said dating him was like being in prison.


I've also seen lots of claims, which may have some accuracy, that Brown would paradoxically put out those records by proteges like Lyn and Marva [Whitney] and Bobby [Byrd], but should they start to take off, he'd start calling radio stations and tell them NOT to play the records. In other words, he was pretty okay with these folks feeling indebted to him, by putting out their records, throwing them some money. But if their records started stealing attention from him, he would have to intervene/knock them down - and being the producer, distributor and erstwhile check payer for various folks, he had lots of means at his disposal . . . But I have heard claims specifically about Lyn's version of "Think About It", that when it started heading for the top ten (r&b, I guess), JB began working the phones, calling his DJ connections and telling them to cool their action. How you prove that I don't know, but it seems somewhat plausible.


"I don't care how good it's doin'! I've got
money - now I need love! Shut it down!"
And, lastly, is there a particular song that you wanted to fit into The One that for one reason or another didn't make the cut, and what do you want to say about it?


I wrote out several thousand words on "The Grunt" [a 1970 JB produced instrumental by the Collins kids' version of the JB's], particularly its relationship to 18th and 19th century Cincinnati and how that town was known as Porkopolis. The abundant slaughterhouses used to dump trucks full of spare ribs into the river because they didn't know they tasted good. Wild dogs used to own downtown Cincinnati at night, wild dogs with pieces of meat in their maws scaring the shit out of visiting European ladies and forever shaping their impressions of Ohio and America. I couldn't find the right place for it in the book, but anyway "The Grunt" launched that particular jag. Something about "The Grunt" just leaves a man to thinking about pig flesh and wild dogs. It's that good. 




Special thanks to Mr. Smith for taking the time to chat with us about Soul Brother #1. The One can be found at the usual retail and online outlets, for instance here.  

Sunday, May 27, 2012

James Brown Month: Honky Tonk . . . POPCORN! Bill Doggett


This slammin' floorfiller bears the distinction of being the first James Brown production to feature Bootsy & Catfish Collins, Frankie "Kash" Waddy, Philippé Wynne, Robert McCullough, Clayton Gunnels and Darryl Jamison - they were called the Pacesetters at the time, but one night in Columbus, Georgia, on zero notice, after James had fired his entire band for wanting more money, they became the core of the JB's.


Saturday, May 26, 2012

Way Out Shakers!


Do the ICKY POO...

JAMES BROWN'S future shock Pt. 4










James Brown had a television show in the '70s called Future Shock.  This is the last episode I have.  Legend has it that the master tapes reside in an underground storage facility in Arizona.   Someone did find a box of 100 Future Shock T-Shirts in a storage space outside Atlanta last year.   Get down like James Brown!!



Friday, May 25, 2012

FOOL'S PARADISE TWIN - GRAND REOPENING

THE FOOL'S PARADISE TWIN
REOPENS THIS WEEKEND!!

THIS FRIDAY & SATURDAY !
ROGER CORMAN
DOUBLE BILL !!

NOT OF THIS EARTH
(1956)
Vampires in wrap-around shades !
Flying, head-crushing bat creatures !
Matter-transformation machines !
with
Paul Birch & Corman stalwart/good-luck charm, Dick Miller !!

B/W

ATTACK OF THE CRAB MONSTERS
(1957)
Brain-eating atomic mutations !
Giant ventriloquist crabs (with visible human feet) !
with 
Richard Garland & Jonathan Haze !  


THEN...

SPECIAL MEMORIAL DAY DUSK-TO-DAWN PROGRAM !! 
BEGINNING SUNDAY EVENING ! 

MAMM-O-RAMA !!! 
RUSS MEYER SEX-TUPLE FEATURE !! 


VIXENfinders-keepers-lovers-weepers-movie-poster-1968-1020432494Faster-Pussycat-Kill-Kill-1965-Russ-Meyer

cherry-harry-and-raquel-movie-poster-russ-meyerCOMMON_LAW_CABINBeyond_Valley_Dolls
Full service snack bar featuring: 
Tasty corndogs!  Refreshing beverages! Savory BBQ!

*No Outside Food Or Drink*
 
THE FOOL'S PARADISE TWIN ACCEPTS
JAMES BROWN BLACK & BROWN STAMPS

James Brown Month: RJ Smith Part II

Continuing our interview with JB biographer RJ Smith.



ICHIBAN: JB's stints in prison serve as symbolic bookends to his career . . . you hypothesize the first was what gave him a great deal of his discipline and drive. How do you think that his second sentence changed him?

RJ SMITH: The second prison trip made him more of a bluesman than he had ever been in his life. It seemed to make him sadder, older. It was a thoroughly humiliating experience, and one he could never conquer, because he could never engage with the root reason he was in there: his addiction to PCP. He could never admit he had a problem, and in his mind his incarceration was some sort of punishment by God, or crucifixion, ultimately he processed it as a sign of his martyrdom. It’s sad, too, that in his time of need, few seemed to want to visit him. Lee Atwater did, and Strom Thurmond probably kept him out of harm’s way; I think Brown came out of the South Carolina prison with a feeling of gratitude to some extremely conservative SC pols.



ICHI: A couple of months ago I wrote about the James Brown/Joe Tex feud. http://wfmuichiban.blogspot.com/2012/02/amazing-story-of-joe-texjames-brown.html.  Do you have any interesting tidbits about the Joe Tex/James Brown relationship?

RJ: That feud with Joe Tex continued, though possibly without firepower. Brown had a public beef with Joe over “Skinny Legs and All,” which Brown felt was disrespectful to women. And in 1969 Brown wrote an elliptical column in Soul magazine in which he pretty much says that Joe Tex should just shut up and be content with being Number Two, there’s no dishonor in being second best. If only Joe could admit it, Brown says, he could help him! I think Joe’s likeability and his clowning really got under Brown’s skin.



apparently he had no such issues w/
"Ain't Gonna Bump No More w/no Big Fat Woman"

Let's talk about Bobby Byrd.  He was there from before the beginning to after the end, and I don't feel his importance to the entire James Brown story can be overstated.  How do you see Byrd in terms of being one of the major cogs in the wheels of the James Brown machine?

No Bobby Byrd, no James Brown. It’s approximately that simple. I mean, Bobby’s family gave JB a way to get out of prison, by letting him live with them. Then Byrd sort of gave Brown his band, or JB took over Byrd’s crew and Byrd was cool enough with it to stick around afterwards. Byrd knew the show, and knew how James liked things, and was constantly there to help bring James' vision and wishes into reality. I think Bobby Byrd was a very good guy, the kind of nice guy that Brown pushed around until they finally pushed back. For Byrd that would mean leaving, or taking JB to court as he did in later years to get money he felt he was due. But Bobby was always grounded enough to see the big picture; he kept his ego in check, and was there, on and off, for much of the ride. 



I Need Help! (I Can't Do It Alone)*
You spend several pages discussing the long version of "There Was a Time" on Live at the Apollo Volume 2  - it's almost the most wordage spent on any particular performance in the book. What was it about that song/particular version that made you want to delve so deeply into its guts? 

That performance of “There Was a Time” is amazing. The way he name checks dances from the African American tradition, and then introduces the ultimate dance, the one at the end of the line: The James Brown. He makes you see how a whole music, and a variety of traditions, telescope into him. He never sounds as in control of an audience and in charge of the moment as he does there. And there’s something bottomless about the way Clyde and Jabo play off the beat – one a hair in front, the other just behind – and pull time apart. 



"Well I'll be ----!"

As a follow-up to that question, how did you decide which songs and performances to write about, aside from their historical importance? And how big a challenge was it to convey what is actually going on in those songs? 

With music there is so much to talk about, so many ways into a discussion, it’s hard to stop. Sometimes you talk about how a song was written or recorded, sometimes you talk about what it means, or what it meant to the one who made it. And sometimes folks wonder how you could possibly miss “Pass the Peas” or “Funky Drummer” or “Santa Claus go Straight to the Ghetto” – there’s so much to cover. And I have to save some room to talk about “I’ve Got Money”: ALWAYS gotta save room for that. I tried to pick songs and performances that would keep the momentum moving forward – rather than end a thought or line of discussion with a song or show, I hope I used them as often to keep moving us forward in time.



keep moving forward in time!


In the late 60s, JB's opening act was a white instrumental band called the Dapps [they also back James up on "I Can't Stand Myself" and released several singles JB produced]. If there were some issues with certain audience members on there being a white player or two in Brown's band in the late 60s, as you mention in The One, what was the reaction to an all-white opening act? 

It was a core of nationalists and some Islamic groups that had a beef with the whites in Brown’s band, not so much the average ticketholder. They were also incredibly incensed that Brown was still processing his hair and would not go with the Fro.  Of course, any pressure Brown got for having Caucasians onstage just made him double down. Maybe that’s the real reason why he recorded with the Dee Felice Trio: how you like me NOW, Eldridge Cleaver?



JB with the Dapps
Be back on Monday with the thrilling conclusion of this interview, wherein Mr. Smith talks Lynn Collins,  JB's production techniques, "the Grunt", and . . . Future Shock.

*all credit and praise to the original gif animator for that bit of internet wonderment. I found it here.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Syd Nathan Speaks


"God Damn it, listen to what I'm telling you"

A-Side
B-Side

Thanks to Phil Milstein!

The Fool's Paradise Twin Grand Re-Opening!



Join us for the Summer Sizzle Series!

Brought to you by Count Reeshard and WFMU's Rock 'n' Soul Ichiban.

Special carload rate of 12 Dollars!  Double features EVERY weekend!

Full service snack bar featuring:

Tasty corndogs!  Refreshing beverages! Savory BBQ!

Plus Sno-Caps, Goobers, Raisinets and all your favorite Lawdy Miss Clawdy cookies!!

Sorry!  But our Slush Puppie machine is currently out of service...

*No Outside Food Or Drink*

See you this weekend!!!

James Brown Month: RJ Smith Interview part 1

RJ Smith's James Brown biography, The One, was published in March by Gotham Books. James Brown's life is so large and complex that making sense of it is a lot like staring directly into the sun (which is why we've taken such a scattershot approach to celebrating it this month on Ichiban) but Smith manages to hit all the major points (the music, the ego, the dancer, the ego, the politics, his disturbing relationships with women, the ego, his dictatorial relationship with his bands, his worldwide social impact, the drugs, the ego) in a compelling and fascinating way.  In this e-mail interview Smith discusses some of the more obscure parts of the book and some of the events and people from JB's life that there was just no room to fit into The One. The interview ran longer than a JB single from 1969, so we're splitting it up into three parts, just like Hot Pants.  Catch the first flipside tomorrow!


ICHIBAN:  What inspired you to spend this much time writing about James Brown? Was there an initial point of revelation that connected you to him as a subject matter? 


RJ SMITH: The first connection I had with him was when I was growing up in Detroit in the late 60s and early 70s. That of course was Motown country, and Top 40 radio was laced with bubblegum, “The Sound of Young America” and local garage rock and then ... you encountered ... the scream. That scrofulous shout that just shredded everything on the air. I don’t even remember what song I heard first, or any song at all, I just remember the noise of his voice, and I was interested.

After that, well he just seemed more interesting, and confusing, and larger than life than about anybody else I can think of in life. I mean this guy just talked and talked and talked, and he kept getting more mystifying while he kept speaking these deep truths in broken poetics. What kind of life was this? If you are gonna live in somebody’s head for four or five years, may it be as interesting as this one.
talkin' loud and sayin' somethin'
ICHIBAN: Your technique of grounding the various eras of James's bands by focusing on the drummers really tied the disparate elements of his career together. When did you decide this was the way to go?

RJ SMITH: There were so many amazing musicians in that band, how do I give them credit without overwhelming the story I’m trying to tell? You need this CNN crawl across the bottom of the page flashing all these folks names as you read about the records. But then, if I start naming people, it’s hard to do it part way, there will be reader’s who quite rightly ask, where’s Sugar Pie DeSanto, where’s Country Kellum, where’s the Dapps, right? Reasonable questions, but there’s so many great players – they need their own book. I started thinking about the drummers as a way to at least symbolically nod in the direction of the whole unit, and then the more I thought about rhythm at the core of his sound, and Southern-if-not-New Orleans rhythms in specific, the more reasons I had for focusing on the drums.

Give (some of) the drummers some!
Jabo Starks, Clyde Stubblefield, Melvin Parker, Clayton Fillyau
How do you view JB's artistic career arc?  Modern consensus seems to make the 60s a long slow build to the apotheosis of the early 70s with the Bootsy version of the band, and that was the artistic peak. But in the 70s, critical consensus put his peak more in the late 60s, but this was before the importance of funk music was really understood.  I guess my question is: Is, say, Sex Machine a more radical artistic breakthrough or amazing piece of music than, say, Live at the Apollo?  

Probably – this is the baby boomer divide with JB, whether you think Live at the Olympia is better than Live at the Apollo. That early 70s outpouring with Bootsy and the other iterations of the JBs and assorted projects of this era is singular. Those funk records are so deep, and Brown was just popping them out like beads of sweat, it’s pretty unprecedented. It was this whole new genre of sound for a while that mostly had only itself to refer to, and then it started touching other musics. We still haven’t gotten to the bottom of this era. I sure would love to hear rehearsal tapes, or to have been a fly on the wall when the JBs got together in the studio – how did they talk to each other, how did they establish a bass line, etc? It seems so complicated and hard to assemble, but they had to be laying it down pretty quick and on the fly.

or 
What says you, Ichibunnies?

Syd Nathan [head honcho of King Records and frequent JB financial sparring partner] and James Brown would have probably made one of the great comedy duos; their relationship seems so contentious and codependent.  I was surprised to learn that Brown was a pallbearer at Nathan's funeral - were they closer than their antagonistic reputation lets on?  Did they have a genuine friendship or was it strictly business? And did Nathan EVER like anything JB did, besides make him money?

There’s a great story Syd’s nephew told me about James putting a Mezuzah around his neck whenever he had to get something from Syd, because who knows, it might help somehow. Syd never totally saw talent on its own terms – money shaped his view of a great many things. But I am sure he understood how special James was. He had to have. Syd liked the way “No” sounded, but at some point he learned that telling James “No” lead to great things down the road. Doesn’t a great comedy team need contrast? These two were like Redd Foxx and Slappy White together, but with two Redd Foxxes! They were so much alike, I think they totally UNDERSTOOD each other and fed off the mirror image they found in their competitor.  Part of what encouraged Syd to stick it to James every chance he got was that he felt he had to keep the guy in check. When Charles Spurling told me he was hired in the late ‘60s at King (besides his considerable musical value) to be pure thug muscle to push back at James, it totally made sense.


SYD NATHAN: Give the drummer some . . . money!

The stories in The One about tent show culture and its influence on Brown in the 50s was very interesting, particularly the contrast between the Daddy Grace religious version of a travelling tent show and the Esquerita/Little Richard nascent drag-queen version.  Do you have any more anecdotes about either or both of these traditions and what JB took from them? 

Hats off to The Hound there – he’s really blazed the way in chronicling the whole gay tent show masquerade culture in the South. I keep telling my academic friends there’s a lot to write about here, but so far nobody’s dug in. I wish I understood better the sexual identity dynamics of this phenomenon. How did James Brown become not quite a part of this scene, but cognizant of its stars – Billy Wright, and of course Little Richard, probably others too – and how did he think about the queer undertow (and text) of this scene? The “Man’s Man” dressing like Little Richard, and walking down the same streets of Macon. How did that play itself out in daily life, and what did people say about Brown, and what did Brown do when he heard it?

As for Daddy Grace, any chance I can take to write about him I will totally go for it. The guy is one of the great American stories, and I am convinced he had a crucial imprint on funk (through the drumming and bands in his church) that has yet to be fully understood. So many cool things happen in tents, we definitely need more tents in America today. 

Sweet Daddy Grace - GIVE THE PREACHER SOME!
Tune in tomorrow for James in jail, the Dapps, Bobby Byrd, "There Was a Time" and the return to the Ichiblog of Soul Brother #? - Mr. Joe Tex!



Let's Go Ape!


Beginning today, the WFMU Rock 'n' Soul Ichiban webstream will be LIVE every Thursday from 1-5 PM!  Don't miss a single minute of Matt Fiveash followed by Ted Barron.  Both shows have live accuplaylists and archives.  Ooba Gooba!!

You Were Expecting Maybe Rock Hudson?

James Brown.
1965
Ski Party.
'Nuff said.

(This well traveled bit of cinematic surrealism posted if only because no one else has done it yet.)

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

James Brown Month: The Freakin' T.A.M.I. Show


It's the stuff of legend - in California in 1964, a grand gathering of rock 'n' roll & rhythm and blues stars for the first and just about only film of its kind, the T.A.M.I. Show, is capped by a battle of the apex of both genres - the Rolling Stones vs. James Brown. 


So much has been written about the different reactions each performance camp had to the announcement that the Stones would follow Brown. One thing's for sure - it wasn't the Stones' call. Producers Bill Sargent and director Steve Binder made the running order, and it was much to both acts' displeasure.

"umm . . . you know we didn't ASK to follow you, right Mr. Brown?"


"Nobody follows James Brown!" Brown kept saying. Binder had never seen JB perform, and Brown refused to rehearse for the program, telling Binder "you'll know what to do" when the cameras started to roll. Maybe if he'd given a little up, Binder would have understood. 

The Stones certainly did. According to an interview in MOJO, Jagger apparently came to Sargent and Binder and said "We can't do this." But Binder insisted they could, and Sargent wanted a British band to close up the show, so the die was cast.
"don't matter, son. get ready for the night train."
Apparently Jagger was so nervous watching Brown backstage Marvin Gaye had to tell him, "Just go out and do your best." Keith Richards would later say that going out after him was the biggest mistake of their career. 


Why was everyone making such a big fuss?



THIS IS WHY

In addition to a hot "Out of Sight", in addition to the greatest version of the cape act ever captured on film, there is "Night Train", which is so fast, and so nuts, JB actually loses step a couple of times, and then turns his missteps into genius. Apparently Elvis Presley used to rent a theater and would roll this performance over and over again. Brown himself said it was the fastest he'd ever danced, and the best thing he'd ever done. 

RJ Smith quotes Brown about the T.A.M.I. saying "[IT] was the highest energy thing has ever been. I danced so hard my manager cried. But I really had to. What I was up against was pop artists. I was R&B. I had to show 'em the difference, and believe me, it was hard."


For their part, the Rolling Stones manage to get out with their asses basically intact. They deserve major points for even going on, and they're pretty great. Jagger shows his amazing sponge-like performance instincts by doing a serious number of JB moves that he'd just seen fifteen minutes before. Apparently they revamped their setlist entirely following the JB performance to give it more of an edge and freshness - "Off the Hook", which totally rocks here, was not even released yet! Brown apparently even shook their hands afterward and congratulated them, and invited them onstage a week later at the Apollo to have them take a bow. 

He won. He could afford to be generous. 

"Have another few thousand drinks and you'll get over it, pal."

Seeking Intern



WFMU's Rock 'n' Soul Ichiban is seeking a curator for the Fool's Paradise Twin during our summer season.  Must have low-brow sensibilities and vast knowledge of the golden age of B Movie Exploitation.

Inquire within.

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