RIP: James Brown, grandfather of Funk / Soul, entertainment icon

James Brown at Evergreen Ballroom 1961

That’s the way my friend Laurel described what she felt at 12:42 am on Christmas morning when she sent me an email. James Brown is dead . The song of the same title finally came true today. James Brown died at the age of 73 from complications of pneumonia. What a sad event to take place on Christmas day.

The influence of James Brown on popular music was enormous. James Brown was one of the few musicians that actually defined a whole genre of music. Funk music owes an enormous debt to this man from Georgia. Like the Beatles, Johnny Cash, Ray Charles, Frank Sinatra, and Bob Dylan, James Brown was a giant in the entertainment industry whose works transcended beyond niche markets to achieve universal recognition worldwide.

I saw James Brown a couple of times, and he was always an amazing performer. I saw him at the Keystone Palo Alto, and the San Jose Saddle Rack, two great nightclubs that no longer exist. This summer, I was actually hired to shoot some video of a big festival in San Francisco that featured James Brown on the second day. Because of prior commitments, I sub-contracted a friend of mine to shoot the day that missed. It turned out to be the last time James Brown played San Francisco.

In my LOUIE LOUIE research, I’ve been trying to find memorabilia connected to the Evergreen Ballroom of Olympia, Washington. This was the place where Richard Berry performed when he toured the Pacific Northwest in 1957 with Etta James, Bobby Bland, and Junior Parker. There’s not a lot of material I could find from this extinct nightclub, but one of the few things I did find was a jpeg of a vintage 1961 Evergreen poster featuring James Brown, Sugar Pie DeSanto, Nat Kendricks, and the Brownies, which you can see in this posting. If you have ANY memorabilia from the Evergreen Ballroom, drop me an email.

Earlier his week, I received an iTunes gift card. Today, I used this gift card to purchase a James Brown Christmas album. With all the stores closed on Christmas Day, I couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate the holidays and the life of James Brown by buying the download of “James Brown’s Funky Christmas.” It’s an excellent addition to my audio library.

In the meantime, here’s a classic James Brown performance, courtesy of YouTube. This is a performance of “Papa’s Got A Brand New Bag / I Feel Good” of from the Ed Sullivan Show on May 1, 1966.

SIDE NOTE: Sugar Pie DeSanto, who’s also featured on the Evergreen poster along with James Brown, has had her share of hard times recently. On October 26th, Ms. DeSanto lost her husband, Jesse Davis, and everything she owns in a tragic apartment fire. If you are able to make any donations to help Ms. DeSanto out, that would be a wonderful thing. There will be a benefit concert for her in San Francisco on Friday, January 12.

Sugar Pie DeSanto on Jasman Records

The WikiPedia entry on Sugar Pie DeSanto

10 comments to RIP: James Brown, grandfather of Funk / Soul, entertainment icon

  • Sportvivat

    While the bar patron savoured a double martini, an attractive women sat down next to him. The bartender served her a glass of orange juice, and the man turned to her and said, “This is a special day. I’m celebrating.”

    “I’m celebrating, too,” she replied, clinking glasses with him.

    “What are you celebrating?” he asked.

    “For years I’ve been trying to have a child,” she answered, “Today my gynaecologist told me I’m pregnant!”

    “Congratulations,” the man said, lifting his glass.

    “As it happens, I’m a chicken farmer, and for years all my hens were infertile. But today they’re finally fertile.”

    “How did it happen?”

    “I switched cocks.”

    “What a coincidence,” she said, smiling.

  • Procssor

    A psychiatrist was conducting a group therapy session with four young mothers and their small children… “You all have obsessions,” he observed. To the first mother, Mary, he said, “You are obsessed with eating.You’ve even named your daughter Candy.” He turned to the second Mom, Ann: “Your obsession is money. Again, it manifests itself in your child’s name, Penny.” He turns to the third Mom, Joyce: “Your obsession is alcohol. This too manifests itself in your child’s name, Brandy.” At this point, the fourth mother, Kathy, gets up, takes her little boy by the hand and whispers. “Come on, Dick, we’re leaving”

  • shyflyzavr

    AUDI: Another Ugly Deutsche Invention

    BMW: Brings Me Women

    FIAT: Failure in Italian Automotive Technology

    FORD: Fast Only Rolling Downhill or For Only Rough Drivers

    HYUNDAI: Hope You Understand Nothing’s Drivable And Inexpensive…

    VOLVO: Very Odd Looking Vehicular Object

    PORSCHE: Proof of Rich Spoiled Children Having Everything

    KIA: Kills in Accidents

    OPEL: Old People Ending Lives

    GOLF/GTI: Girls Only Love Fun / Get Them Inside

    HONDA: Hanged Over, Now Driving Away

    POLO: Panties off Legs Open

  • jamzizina

    14 Reasons To Allow Drinking On The Job

    1. It’s an incentive to show up.

    2. It reduces stress.

    3. It leads to more honest communications.

    4. It reduces complaints about low pay.

    5. It cuts down on time off because you can work with a hangover.

    6. Employees tell management what they think, not what management wants to hear.

    7. It helps save on heating costs in the winter.

    8. It encourages carpooling.

    9. Increases job satisfaction because if you have a bad job you don’t care.

    10. It eliminates vacations because people would rather come to work.

    11. It makes fellow employees look better.

    12. It makes the cafeteria food taste better.

    13. Bosses are more likely to hand out raises when they have had a couple of drinks.

    14. Salary negotiations are a lot more profitable.

  • DrTeslov


    A guy came into a bar one day and said to the barman “Give me six
    double vodka.”
    The barman says “Wow! you must have had one really bad day.”
    “Yes, I’ve just found out my older brother is gay.”
    The next day the same guy came into the bar and asked for the same
    When the bartender asked what the problem was today the answer came
    “I’ve just found out that my younger brother is gay too!”
    On the third day the guy came into the bar and ordered another six
    double vodkas.
    The bartender said “WOW! Doesn’t anybody in your family like women?”
    “Yeah, my wife…”

  • BrukvFruct

    A koala is sitting in a tree smoking a joint when a little lizard walks past and looks up and says to the koala “Hey! What are you doing?” The koala says “smoking a joint, come up and have some.” So the little lizard climbs up and sits next to the koala and they have a few joints.
    After a while the little lizard says his mouth is ‘dry’ and is going to get a drink from the river. The little lizard is so stoned that he leans too far over and falls into the river.

    A crocodile sees this and swims over to the little lizard and helps him to the side, then asks him what’s the matter. The little lizard explains to the crocodile that he was sitting smoking a joint with the koala in the tree, got too stoned and then fell into the river while taking a drink.

    The crocodile says he has to check this out and walks into the rain forest,finds the tree where the koala is sitting finishing a joint, and he looks up and says – “Hey you!” The koala looks down and says: “Faaaaarrrrk dude…how much water did you drink?!!”

  • Indeksator

    A man walked into a cowboy bar and ordered a beer just as president clinton appeared on the television. After a few sips, he looked up at the television and mumbled, “now, there’s the biggest horse’s ass i’ve ever seen.” A customer at the end of the bar quickly stood up, walked over to him, and decked him.

    A few minutes later, as the man was finishing his beer, hillary clinton appeared on the television. “She’s a horse’s ass too,” the man. This time, a customer at the other end of the bar quickly stood up, walked over to him, and knocked him off his stool. “Damn it!” The man said, climbing back up to the bar. “This must be clinton country!”

    “Nope,” the bartender replied. “Horse country!”

  • NiceDancer

    A fiftyish woman was at home, happily jumping up and down on her bed and squealing with delight. Her husband watched her for a while and then asked, “Do you have any idea how ridiculous you look? What’s the matter with you?”

    The woman continued to bounce on the bed and said, “I don’t care. I just came from having a mammogram and the doctor says I have the breasts of an 18 year-old.”

    The husband said, “What did he say about your 55 year old ass?”

    “Your name never came up,” she replied.

  • Diogourgy

    Vangelis uses a technique of recording all tracks simultaneously on tape, using a device especially manufactured for him which he calls the “Direct box”.
    “He explains his customary method of approach. As soon as the musical idea is there, as many keyboards as possible are connected to the control-desk, which in turn are directly connected to the applicable tracks of the multi-trackmachine.

  • Aleah Kennedy

    My mother used to be one of the brownies, I was wondering why do not have much on the brownies.

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