Tag Archives: James Brown

Deadaroo

18 Jun

Last weekend, my state hosted Bonnaro, the music festival that has become a destination for those looking for a good time and good music. They have a wide variety of acts, and I have often said that I would like to go if I could fly in on a helicopter for a few hours. Listening to music would be awesome, but I am too well into my years to be hanging out in a field without a hot shower.

After reading a lot of blogs and tweets about Bonaroo, I began to think about what performers I would like to see at a festival. Then, I took it a little further. What performers have I never seen live but would like to see? Then, with an idea string going, I began to think about the performers I would like to see live but never will because they are, well, not live. They are dead.

After coming up with a list of dead performers that I wished I had seen, I came up with my own music festival fantasy -Deadaroo. These are not zombie versions of famous people. This is a collection of people in their primes. This is a music festival of some of my favorites at the top of their game.

The following is a list of acts; the stage where they will perform; and, the thing I would most want to see them do (with links).

Appearing on the “Knockin’ ‘Em Dead” Comedy Stage:

Jerry Clower, the Mouth of the South, telling his greatest stories, including A Coon Huntin’ Story.

Rodney Dangerfield with his self-deprecating routine and trademark line, “I get no respect.”

Jackie Gleason, famous for television and movies, was also great at stand up comedy and was known for the signature line,”How sweet it is.” The video is from The Dean Martin Celebrity Roast (begin watching at 5:03).

The Rat Pack, consisting of Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis, Jr., and others, brings their Vegas act to the stage.

Scheduled for the “Dead Zone” Music Stage:

Big Joe Turner, early R&B and Rock and Roll pioneer, performing his hits, including “Shake, Rattle and Roll“.

Jim Croce, folk singer extraordinaire, singing “I Got a Name” and the rest of his classics.

Waylon Jennings, one of the original Outlaws of country music, with a passel of hits including “Mamas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to be Cowboys“.

Johnny Cash – the Man in Black, the legend, and someone I actually met – singing songs that span decades but ending with one of the early ones, “Folsom Prison Blues“.

Sam Cooke, paragon of R&B and Soul, bringing his best and “Bring It On Home to Me“.

As the finale, THE country legend known to many as Luke the Drifter, Hank Williams singing “Hey Good Lookin’” and many more classic songs.

At “Rock in Pieces”, the main stage, Deadaroo brings you:

Isaac Hayes, Black Moses of 70s Soul, with his Academy Award winning theme, “Shaft“.

James Brown, the Hardest Working Man in Show Business, performs all of his hits, including “Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag“.

Stevie Ray Vaughan, one of the greatest bluesmen ever, breaks out his guitar and plays “Mary Had a Little Lamb“.

The Reggae man himself, Bob Marley, straight from Jamaica with songs such as “No Woman No Cry“.

Ray Charles, genius and master of all musical genres, performs songs known to all and promises to stoke the crowd with “What’d I Say“.

Who could top those legends? Who is worthy to close the show of such greatness? Jimi Hendrix, the greatest guitar player of them all, as he electrifies Deadaroo with “Purple Haze” and other songs of psychedelic form.

That’s Deadaroo. The End

Love, Peace and Soul

2 Feb

This morning the internet was covered with reports of the death of Don Cornelius, creator/host/conductor of “Soul Train”. Because this is the first day of Black History Month, I decided to begin my history classes with the news and a short talk on his influence on music and culture. Some of the students had heard of “Soul Train”, but they really didn’t know anything about it. I hope they do now.

During my younger years, I watched “Soul Train” every chance I could, and I am sure that I was not the only white kid to do that. I think the first attraction was the opening. The animated train chugged across the screen in bright colors while the high-pitched Sooouuulll Traaaiiinn came out of the speakers.

However, once the show started the real action hit the screen. Don Cornelius introduced the performers with a rich, deep voice. Dancers wore funky clothes and made funky moves on the dance floor and down the “Soul Train Line”. I was mesmerized by the people, the music, and the action. Being a red-blooded American male, I paid special attention to the female dancers. I never tried any of the moves because I didn’t want to bust my butt, but I wished I could wear the clothes and be absorbed by the music. I didn’t really understand the impact that “Soul Train” had on society. I only knew that it was having an impact on me and what I thought was cool entertainment.

As a historian, I have a deeper understanding of the times I grew up in and Don Cornelius’ role during that time. He brought the soul genre to a wider audience and introduced many Americans to a vibrant African-American culture. He provided a stage for young African-Americans to express their talents and beauty. There was more to people than what white America portrayed and/or believed. Some say that “Soul Train” was simply a black version of “American Bandstand”. True, there were similarities in show design and cultural impact. But, in my opinion, “Soul Train” was a lot more fun.

In coming days, there will be many tributes to Don Cornelius, and this post will pale in comparison. There are several playlists on my iPod with titles that only I understand. When I put together a soul playlist, there was only one thing to call it – “Soul Train”. As a small tribute, these are a few of the artists and songs included on that list. If I could organize an intergalactic concert in Cornelius’ honor, then this is the lineup of performers that I would choose.

The Love Unlimited Orchestra – “Love’s Theme”

The Temptations – “Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone”

Curtis Mayfield – “Freddie’s Dead”

Marvin Gaye – “Let’s Get it On”

Barry White – “I’ve Got So Much to Give”

Edwin Starr – “War”

The Five Stairsteps – “O-O-H Child”

Stevie Wonder – “Superstition”

Billy Paul – “Me and Mrs. Jones”

Kool and the Gang – “Summer Madness”

Isaac Hayes – “Soulsville”

Roberta Flack – “The First Time I Ever Saw Your Face”

James Brown – “Down and Out in New York City”

The Isley Brothers – “That Lady”

The Commodores – “Brick House”

Bobby Womack – “Across 110th Street”

Sly and the Family Stone – “Everyday People”

Hues Corporation – “I’m Gonna Catch You”

Aretha Franklin – “Chain of Fools”

Chic – “Good Times”

The Staple Singers – “I’ll Take You There”

War – “All Day Music”

Bill Withers – “Ain’t No Sunshine”

The Brothers Johnson – “Strawberry Letter 23”

Gladys Knight and the Pips – “Midnight Train to Georgia”

Jackson 5 – “I Want You Back”

Lakeside – “Fantastic Voyage”

G.C. Cameron – “It’s So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday”

Of course, Don Cornelius would come out at the end and sign off with his signature line, “I’m Don Cornelius, and as always in parting, we wish you love, peace and soul.”