The Hardest-Working Man in Showbusiness.
Soul Brother Number One.
Singer, arranger, composer, dancer. Possibly the inventor of rap and hip-hop. Inspiration to a legion of artists. Scheduled to do a show at Casino Rama on January 3rd (which I really, really wanted to see). Leader of a fantastically tight band.
I dare you to listen to any of his stuff and not get a little wigglin' goin' on. It's impossible to put on "Sex Machine" and stay stationary, or get your groove on to the possibly-overplayed "I Got You (I Feel Good)". Even on the "Celebrity Hot Tub Party" skit on Saturday Night Live back in the early '80s, with the band drawing obvious inspiration from hits such as those mentioned above... the theme music was catchy as hell. ("Gonna get in the wah-tah... yeah!")
Sure, he had some rough times. But really, who hasn't? When you're who this man is, you're going to show up in the spotlight, and as he knew all too well, the spotlight both giveth and taketh away.
In the end, it will take decades to sort out exactly how enormous an impact James Joseph Brown, Jr. of Augusta, Georgia had on music, and in turn society. This much I know, though: he was often imitated, but absolutely never, ever duplicated.
In other news, I still have no friggin' clue what I'm doing for New Year's Eve. Every year everyone says the same thing: "I hate New Year's, and I hate going out and doing stuff, because it's stupid." Yet, they do it anyway... and those (like me) who actually buy into the above sentiment are left with Dick Clark, a twenty-sixer of gin, and a crappy night alone. So, if anyone wants to do something, even if it's a game of Trivial Pursuit or five, let me know. (Besides, I don't even have any gin.)