Wednesday, May 26, 2010

JAMES BROWN MADE ME DO IT!

Years ago a guy in my dorm at The University of the Pacific said, “Gentry, James Brown is playing tonight!” The “Grandfather of Soul” mesmerized a packed auditorium in Stockton, California. When James sang “Try Me” I was hopelessly hooked on soul. A few weeks later, after listening to “James Brown, live at the Apollo Theatre”, I did something really dumb. I climbed up four stories of the Delta Gamma house and painted “Try Me” in 2 ½ foot white letters on the slate roof. The letters stayed there for many years. Few people knew it was my crazy tribute to James Brown, not a sign for sorority rush. My wife Marla, a Delta Gamma, was very unhappy with me when she heard many years later that I was the culprit.

One of our college parties.

“The hardest working man in show-business.”

The Apollo Theatre in Harlem.

After a late night party at school I decided to drive home to the Bay Area for the weekend. In a terrible fog I missed a turn on the levee and hit a tree head-on. I totaled my beautiful red Hillman convertible. The ONLY thing I had in the car for the weekend was my “James Brown, Live at the Apollo Theatre” album. I was very lucky that night! I only had a big scar on my forehead. I still have that album today.

Click on these Youtube links for a taste of one of the true icons of soul!

James Brown, live at the Apollo Theatre, in Harlem 1968.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NKMyEcwfT8s

J.B. singing an electrifying, “Get off that thing”, later in his career.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sRQoYCqEr_4&feature=related

Michael Jackson and Prince went to school watching James Brown dance.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xop6K8QUL6I

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