There are plenty of straight-up James Brown memorials today (here’s John Pareles’ obit in the Times) so I thought I’d offer up two "tributes" of sorts from 1989, a year after the Godfather of Soul’s infamous drug-n-booze fueled run-in with the law that ended in a wild interstate car chase. Both songs poke fun at the incident which had pretty much worn away any goodwill Brown had left. (The ’80s were a rough decade for the him.)
Of the two, I think Pop Will Eat Itself‘s contribution holds up a little better, though I am biased as I hold the album it came from, This is the Day… This Is the Hour… This is This, as an unheralded (and unfairly maligned) classic. Plus they sample "Funky Drummer" as well as some classic JB catchphrases. For whatever reason, Big Audio Dynamite sampled West Side Story for their song "James Brown," the lead single off Megatop Phoenix, the last Big Audio Dynamite
album to feature the original lineup. (The band was never as good once
Don Letts left, even though they became much more popular.) I think
this got picked as a single more for the name recognition that the
catchiness of the song, but it’s still fun, if a bit dated.
• Pop Will Eat Itself – "Not Now James, We’re Busy"
• Big Audio Dynamite – "James Brown"
Legendary Love frontman Arthur Lee lost his battle with Leukemia last night (August 3). He was 61. He was pretty much batshit crazy for most of the ’80s and ’90s but there’s no denying his amazing catalog with perhaps the ultimate ’60s psych-pop group. It seems especially sad as anyone who saw the Forever Changes concerts from 2002 knew the man still had it.
Read the AP obit here.
Vintage Love from YouTube:
• "My Little Red Book"
• "A Message to Pretty" (on American Bandstand!)
• "Your Mind and We Belong Together"
I figure there will be plenty of Love mp3s posted on blogs today, so I’m offering a couple worthy tributes/homages from other bands:
MP3: Hopkirk and Lee – "Free Arthur Lee"
MP3: Belle & Sebastian – "I’m Waking Up to Us"
I have distinct memories of the Pernice Brothers doing "Alone Again Or" at Bowery Ballroom in 2001. I wonder how many bands performing around the country tonight will be covering Love songs?
Was there a band that had a classier, better second act than The Go-Betweens? As much as I like their ’80s output (which is pretty much great), I think they actually got better since reforming in 1999, with 2000’s comeback The Friends of Rachel Worth being the best thing they ever did. I liked all of McLennan and Forster’s solo records, but there was magic when they played together. Maybe because they weren’t trying to write songs aimed at the 20-something market, they wrote about what they wanted to, they were able to remain vital. Last year’s Ocean’s Apart was a great album. I am very sad to think there won’t be another.
The Go-Betweens – Going Blind