Something for the Weakened

Browned Off

Saturday, December 4th, 2004 by

Saw a recording of a recent James Brown concert on telly last night. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m an enormous fan of the Broon as I lovingly call him (I didn’t come up with the name – think it’s a tribute to The Broons, the old Dudley D. Watkins strip that ran in some Scottish newspaper). He’s one of only two non-local musicians I’ve gone out of my way to see live more than once. And merely being in the same room as him is enough of a buzz, let alone the joy of actually seeing him perform mere feet away. The problem is when you then see it out of context. Watching him on the tiny screen in my bedroom produced almost exactly opposite emotions in me. It all looked so horribly forced, as he pasted on a fake smile and ran through the same songs he’s been doing every night sine 1979 (plus Living in America, but I prefer not to think about that one). He had the same band backing him as when I last saw him, who are unbelievably tight, but seem to have sanitised the songs so that they now come across as easy listening mush, rather than the funk stormers he was kicking out back in the day. And half of them are white! What’s that all about? Since when did the Godfather allow these jive honky punk mofos into his outfit? I’m certain they were playing exactly what I heard live, but television and the lack of a sweaty octogenarian doing the electric boogaloo literally in front of me left me empty. James, I implore you, stop allowing cameras in. Let my memories be good.

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