James Brown, “Get Up (I Feel Like Being Like a) Sex Machine” (1970)
Sometimes you just have to go with the classic tried and true and perhaps no one and nothing is more so than James Brown doing this song蓉nless it’s James Brown doing any of dozens of his masterpieces across the length and breadth of a stellar career (“Star time!”). The ridiculous construction of this title, with the strange parenthetical, always makes me laugh for some reason (maybe that’s the peevish copy editor in me). But the groove makes me shut up and move. JB rides it like a professional surfer, focused and obviously relishing each moment as he consults with the band, directs it “to the bridge” (if not the first time he has resorted to this trope it may well be the most famous), and ultimately brings it to a close with an astonishing flourish, all poise balanced by power.
Song of the week
James Brown, “Get Up (I Feel Like Being Like a) Sex Machine” (1970)
Fed Up In Brooklyn
Best J.B. song title: Funky President (People, It’s Bad)
You ever wonder how much coke it takes to mix up a Dateline hidden-camera sting with filming yourself planning and committing a federal crime
That’s no trope when JB does it. He invented it. Shtick? Yes. Trope. Nope. One of my African American studies professors argued James’ vocalizations from that late ’60s early ’70s period were on par with Ornette Coleman or Albert Ayler in terms of sheer artistic, gut-wrenching expression. I’m not inclined to disagree.
I heard this is Romney’s go-to karaoke song.
Fucking guy can swing that sweet soul. When he’s finished the crowd totally envies him.
Too early for NFL talk?
I’m a Niner fan. I know the Saints are favored tomorrow. What’s the spread, anyone know?
“There Was a Time.” Tighty tight tight drumming from Clyde Stubblefield.
And the poetic James Brown: “King Heroin.” Over a stellar groove by the J.B.’s.
And the J.B.’s in their own right: “Dirty Harri.”
Their anthology Funky Good Time is highly recommended. No link because I can’t go over the FYWP limit.
@kindness: Hey Jeffrey, what’s the spread?
I hope it’s goat cheese.
I am assuming this is an open thread, and even if it isn’t I am treating it as one *blows raspberry* I am going to attempt to finish the assembly of my new greenhouse this weekend (I tried last weekend but it appears I was putting it together inside out – thanks to my husband pointing that out otherwise I would NEVER have figured it out) and then get some seeds in soil to get my veggies and bedding plants for the spring started. It is going to be chilly this weekend but I can’t wait to get my hands dirty and start digging in some potting soil.
speaking of awesome JB videos
@Fed Up In Brooklyn: So many good ones to choose, but I think I agree. At this very moment at least.
/* cues mp3 *
James Brown was fuckin badass. =)
@Steeplejack: If anyone ever wonders why I think Clyde Stubblefield is absolutely top-shelf, need look no further than “There was a time”.
Thanks for the links. @harlana too.
If football preempts a music-y open thread, can I call you all unwashed heathens from now on?
Get Up (I Feel Like Being Like a) Cash Machine
Change it a little and that might be a good Mitt campaign song too. I’ll look up the lyrics when I have time and send them to the Mittens camp, and ask for pay.
I think this is the first time I’ve read the Godfather of Soul compared with a surfer.
Brown himself is credited with playing piano. And the bassist was a young, incredibly funky William “Bootsy” Collins
What’s even more amazing is to know that the other voice in the “call and response” at the core of the song is Bobby Byrd, who was the original leader of the Famous Flames, and who brought Brown into the group. This has got to be one of the most noteworthy shifts in the leadership of a band in pop music history.
Amen. This version, though, gives a better idea of how Brown distilled the entire band to its essence as a rhythm monster, and how the drummer punctuates Brown’s dance moves. Good God.
Amen. He is unrelenting in that clip. I think Harlana’s link uses the same audio. It’s from Say It Live and Loud: Live in Dallas 08.26.68.
The ultimate live mid-period James Brown (as opposed to the early Live at the Apollo) is Love Power Peace: Live at the Olympia, Paris, 1971.
Led Zeppelin have done a song in James Brown style, “The Crunge”, that finishes with the line “Where’s that confounded bridge?”
@jl: Pink Floyd’s “Money” would work so well.
So would a “Been Caught Stealing”, for that matter.
In case anyone else is trapped in the “mobile” site (my screen is 1028 x 768 but apparently still too small to be allowed to the grownups’ table) because the link to the “desktop” site is munged, you can work around it by using the URL https://balloon-juice.com/?wpmp_switcher=desktop every single time you visit, instead.
I saw JB for the first time at a performance not long before he died.
The one that you posted: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c5CCQLOCEZw&feature=related
That’s just, an EXCELLENT live recording. Nice. Especially back in those days, it’s very hard to find them so clean.
Edit: that was the 2nd link you posted btw – sorry folks – I can never get embed to work right at BJ. FYWP!
Edit AGAIN: This was brachiators link. My bad.
Matt in HB
@Calouste: The Crunge is nice homage to Funk and JB in particular. They end with Where’s that confounded bridge? because there isn’t one in the song. Clever fellows in Zeppelin.
Sex Machine is of course phenomenal. I use a loop of the piano piece as my ringtone
I highly recommend the “James Brown in the 60’s (I Got the Feelin)” DVD set about his life
Been too long since I last heard the album-length version of “Hot Pants (She Got to Use What She Got to Get What She Wants)”
What a weird treat. I only ever heard it on hippie stations.
@Steeplejack: Do you know, does this stuff come in any kind of compilation/box, etc?
Problem is, I wind up with too much cruft, I end up digitizing everything anyway – and dumping the physical stuff into storage. So the less physical CD’s I have to buy, the better, OTOH, I don’t like purchasing online, it’s hard to judge the quality I’m gonna get – i’m picky, and I’d rather import redbook audio (CD lossless format) and encode it myself – rather than have some anonymous hack – who always seems to put it at VBR , or less than 320kbps mp3, etc. Funk that noise!
Adding: if I have the option, vinyl is my favorite to rip from, but it’s sooo time consuming.
@trollhattan: I poured over hot pants for hours (over the course of days) to get that precise beat down on my MPC knock-off – just so I could learn it, and grok all the texture, play it, and get some of that nice hat action for myself.
hot pants has some awesome drumming.
I don’t really listen to this song anymore because it’s such a cliche at this point, though I have the Peruvian pressing of the 45, and it’s called “Maquina Sexy,” which makes me laugh.
But if we’re gonna talk JB joints…ohhhhhh boy. The Jungle Groove version of “Give It Up or Turnit a Loose” is an absolute monster (“clap your hands, ha…stomp your feet, ha…CLYDE!”), “Blues and Pants” shows how a groove can stay fresh for 9 minutes, and “Escapism” is just plain funky as fuck.
And let’s not overlook Bill Doggett’s “Honky Tonk Popcorn.” Got-damn!
@gaz (link omitted to come in under the FYWP three-link cap):
My go-to James Brown is the excellent four-CD box set Star Time, augmented with a few other albums (which I mentioned above).
I’m not up on the DVDs available, although he does a killer set on The TAMI Show from 1964.
I think this is what Harlana was referencing.
Well, then you’re in kind of a bind. I have done both. I don’t mind buying and downloading MP3 files for my music player (Android phone), but I also have a lot of CDs to listen to on the home stereo (and rip MP3 tracks from).
Maybe you could buy the CDs, rip to your chosen format and then sell the CDs?
Oh yeah: DJ Format did a great little JB loopfest cut-n-paste called “Stealin’ James” that pulls the best parts from a bunch of the best JB-related joints:
Part II (the better part, IMHO)
@gaz: Agree that Star Time is great. This one is not too bad, either, “20 All Time Greatest Hits.”
Messed up the link, but it is easy to find.
a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q)
@jl: It would be a great campaign song your way. Well, from my perspective anyway.
And this is of course the ideal thread in which to mention again that Bootsy is part of my LinkedIn network.
@Steeplejack: Yes! It’s great! Anyone who loves JB like I do should watch it.
hello, I’m in SC and am being bombarded with PAC ads here
if it were possible, i would want to bear Stephen Colbert’s child
if it were a girl, i’d name her Starphana, if a boy, it might be Starphen =p
Ah, yeah – that is a truly classic moment – when he calls Stubblefield back in from that breakdown, the piece is bursting with anazing energy. God damn, Clyde could play. There are few players who can boast both amazibg technique and on-point feeling in equal amounts. Clyde was one of them in his day.
When I learned to sew (well, tried to learn), I was infamous for putting the right sleeve in the left armhole and v.v. Inside out. Backwards. Upside down.
But it was just a dress, not a greenhouse.
@Steeplejack: One of my all time favorite albums ever. And it was a commentor at Roy Edroso’s blog who put me on to it! I’ve recommended it to all of my funk loving friends, one of whom said, “Even his screams are perfect”. You cannot be downhearted after you hear that album.
I presume you’re talking about Love Power Peace? That is one of my “get up and get moving, you’ve got stuff to do” CDs.
The 1969-70 incarnation of the JBs (with Bootsy Collins on bass, and his brother Catfish on guitar) was the best band James Brown ever had. They barely recorded, unfortunately; pretty much their entire studio output is gathered on the single-disc compilation Funk Power 1970: A Brand New Thang. Get that, and the live album mentioned upthread, Love Power Peace: Live at the Olympia, Paris 1971, and you may never sit down again.
@Steeplejack: Yes, indeed. And I agree with you and pdf – you simply cannot sit down. Though I’ve been a fan of James Brown for a long time, I hadn’t really “experienced” him until I heard that CD. An explosion of raw, precise power.