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Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Inner Peace through Funk

Have you ever had a series of events knock you down a bit? Nothing hugely tragic, but just an accumulation of small to medium-sized bummmers? And you start to feel tension in your jaw muscles as your face is fixed in a frown of worry and stress? And your sleep gets a little less restful because when you hit the sack, you are turning stuff over and over and over in your mind without finding any solution to the problems you think you have?

This has been my state of mind for the past couple of days and I discovered a Way Out that I am delighted to share with anyone who stumbles across this blog.

One type of music can provide a path to inner peace, at least temporarily - old school Funk!

Since the mighty James Brown passed, I have been digging through music that he made and influenced. I used to own some old vinyl records of early 1970's grooves cut by the James Brown band (the JB's). JB himself was involved in the music as a sideman (not frontman) and also acted as producer. I got my hands on a couple re-issues of James Brown's Funky People (Part 1 and Part 2). Oyez! Lyn (the Female Preacher) Collins fronts the JB's for five of the tunes on the 2 discs, and her work on "Rock Me Again & Again & Again & Again" is one for the ages. Lyn faded from public view after her time with JB (she was in the background even then). She became a session vocalist and did some recordings in Europe during the 1980's. And she left us on March 13, 2005. Lyn apparently suffered some sort of seizure while eating and ended up choking on her food - the oxygen deprivation sent her into a coma, and she died three days later when her heart gave out. She was 56 years old.

I want to believe in heaven - I love the idea of JB and the Female Preacher testifying together again in the hereafter.

I started my musical efforts on the trombone and first heard Fred Wesley when I was about 18 years old. His sound on the Funky People discs is still fresh and still kills me dead. Fred wrote many of JB's arrangements - if James Brown gave birth to funk, Fred Wesley was his obstetrician.

Soif you are feeling low, put some JB's on the headphones. You WILL feel better. Funky music is cheaper than therapy.

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