James Brown is known as The Godfather of Soul. He released single after successful single taking over the R & B Charts with his style and groove, but his songs didn't just have the music the also had a message. Known for being prolific and releasing numerous songs that affected not only the music buying public, but also future musical artists, two songs in particular will be discussed here. They are both from his mid 60s period, which reflected an R & B/Soul sound. The first being a track entitled "Don't Be A Drop-Out". This song promoted education and stressed to young African American students to stay in school. At the time of the songs release in 1966, it spoke to a generation of young Americans during the Civil Rights movement, something that Brown would address on more than just this occasion.
The song “Money Won’t Change You Pt.1” was released as a single in 1966, but it did not chart and was not as well received as “Don’t Be A Drop-Out”. With lyrics like “Money Won’t Change You, But Time Will Take You On”, Brown weaves a story with a message in between this Soul stomper of a track. Part two of “Money Won’t Change You” was the B-Side to this single and both versions of the song with “Don’t Be A Drop-Out” can be found on the 1967 album James Brown Sings Raw Soul. The backing R & B vocal group for these songs and for a good part of James Browns’ early music career (from 1958-1968) were The Famous Flames. The band were usually not listed on album covers, which prevented them from being more well known at the time (they are more well known now). The band was founded by Bobby Byrd and lasted with Brown for the early part of his career. The band were on songs such as “Please, Please, Please”, “Think”, “I’ll Go Crazy”, and “Shout and Shimmy”. While the band stopped playing live with Brown in 1968, Bobby Bryd would rejoin James Brown in the 70s in a vocal based role as Brown gravitated from his early R & B sound to a Funk direction.
Brown’s hit singles coupled with his live performances which were beyond energetic, the hardest working man in show business was like no other. The songs mentioned here are just a small sample of the many great songs that James Brown has released throughout his decade spanning career and that have solidified him as the iconic Godfather of Soul.
This Week's Play List:
1. John Legend & The Roots - Compared to What
2. Booker T - Hey Ya
3. Otis Redding - Look At The Girl
4. The Supremes - Uptight (Everything's Alright) (Alternate Vocal)
5. Etta James - Street of Tears
6. Grant Green - Innercity
7. Fats Waller - Louisianna Fairytale 1935
8. Jimmy Cliff - You Can Get It If You Really Want
9. Scotty - Draw Your Brakes
10. Mikey Dread - Break Down The Walls
11. Bob Marley - Trenchtown Rock (Live at the Roxy 1976)
To download this weeks program, visit CJAM's schedule page for Revolution Rock and download the file for February 8. Or subscribe to Revolution Rock as a Podcast.