PoP's Southern Thangs: The hardest working man in show business.....


The hardest working man in show business.....

Embedding disabled, so How Do You Stop?

Also, my memories, written when he died.

I saw James Brown three times in concert. Initially in Petersburg, Virginia, 1964 at a cramped, dark, and smoked filled nightclub. It was extraordinary.

I'll save the intervening concert for last and mention the third one which was in Dana Point, California, 1982, where he performed at a somewhat larger nightclub. I saw his midnight show, and although many years had elapsed, he seemed tireless as before. The next morning I took him and his manager to a liquor store in my cab where he stated that his next stop was Georgia, where he would receive a new set of "ivories."

The second time was in Richmond, Virginia, at the Mosque, 1965. This was a once in a lifetime experience. The line snaked for blocks and we all had the requisite pints of Virginia Gentleman in our hip pockets. Everybody was excited, smiling and friendly. The managers would open the doors and allow a certain number of people in and then close the entrances quickly. It became more and more cramped as we drew nearer, and during the last push my date, Anne Ambler, and I were literally lifted off the ground and momentarily carried forward by the crush of bodies. We only saw one other couple that was white there that night. It's a shame that the race hustlers have tried to wedge us apart. We sat in the second level, and though I imagine the term "dancing in the aisles" was coined before this day, it certainly came to full fruition that night. An absolutely amazing performance left no doubt that he was indeed "Mr. Dynamite."

One item I noticed that has been lacking in every article about James Brown since his death concerns the closing of his shows. When the show was scheduled to end, he would feign a desire to keep singing until two men would come out and guide him off stage. Each time, and there were many, he would break away and return to continue. The show would eventually end when the men came forth once more and fitted him with a straight jacket which finally ended the performance to a roaring ovation.

I imagine he is still putting out 101% and being introduced by Bobby Hatfield in "Rock and Roll Heaven" as ".....the hardest working man in show business, the man who sings I'll Go Crazy ... Try Me"... You've Got the Power ... Mr. Dynamite, the amazing Mr. Please Please himself, the star of the show, James Brown and the Famous Flames!"

Brock Townsend


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