Wednesday, April 23, 2014

The Neighborhood Vs. Wynonie Harris

Here are a couple of news items via the Jet magazine archives (02/24/1955 and 11/03/1955, respectively) detailing wildman Wynonie Harris's clashes with touchy neighbors in Brooklyn and Long Island.

I'd give just about anything to see a photo of the flashing sign on his Long Island lawn reading "The World's Greatest Blues Singer Lives Here."  As the great Dizzy Dean once said, "it ain't bragging if you can do it."

Below: Wynonie Harris, via ACE records.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

James Brown says it loud: Chonnie on Chon & I Feel That Old Feeling

It's difficult to say much original about an artist as revered and well documented as JB, but maybe we can reshuffle some old elements and come up with something "new", that in and of itself being a classic James Brown technique.

In addition to James Brown the soul man and James Brown the minister of the new new super heavy funk, James Brown the balladeer and James Brown the smooth jazz organist, James Brown the pop crooner and James Brown the spoken word poet, all of whom I'm sure will show up here in one form or another over the course of the month, there's also James Brown, maker of a totally crazy loud racket, or, until something better comes along, James Brown: Rock and Roller.

Brown got a lot of his impulse to sheer frantic rhythmic excitement from Little Richard (he also got his hair, his first manager, and one of his first bands from Little Richard) so it's only fitting that we start pursuing this vein in the Brown mines with this crazed melding of Little Richard and Roy Brown from 1956, "Chonnie-On-Chon".

Near as I can tell, "Chonnie-On-Chon" is supposed to be roughly the equivalent of "Bama-Lama-Bama-Lou" or "Whop Bop a Lu Bop a Whop Bam Boom", while the verses of the song recall the events of "Good Rockin' Tonight".  

Soul Brother #1's soul brother number one, Bobby Byrd, georgia peaches the keys.

And speaking of way out takes on Brown's influences, his very first session for Federal produced this spectacularly wild version of Wynonie Harris's "I Feel That Old Age Coming On".  The title is tweaked to better reflect the fact that James was disinclined to feel old age (because that would require getting tired).  But, really, the song should have almost been called "I, James Brown" because in his wild shrieks at the beginning of each verse he announces his unprecedented ego to the world by shrieking "I . . . I . . I  . . . I-I-I-I" over and over again.  He's so far gone by the end of the song that he forgets to say "I feel that old feeling coming on" at the end of the song and reverts back to the original lyric.  

Second link from ike ike ike ike ikedyson71's indispensable all JB youtube channel