Monday, December 25, 2006

Soul Brother Gone

As A white guy from the sticks, it took me years to fully appreciate the Godfather of Soul. In fact, I never gave him much thought at all until the movie Purple Rain hit theaters while I was still in high school. Suddenly on a quest to become a Prince completist, I collected the Purple One's earlier work, unknowingly nodding at the inevitable James Brown comparisons. Still, I'd never spent much time with Mr. Dynamite's body of work until years later, while apprenticing as a commercial cameraman. Saddled with producing an upscale ladies dress shop spot, I set up my lights at the local country club one night and ushered giddy golf wives past my lens.

The very next day I locked myself in an edit bay, where I sliced the resulting footage to the requested sounds of "I Feel Good". Only problem was, the song is well over thirty seconds, - the alloted runtime of my theater of cheese. Unwilling to lay down the first or last half-minute of said tune, I whittled away all day at the staccato horns and bawdy howl of the Brown's trademark tune. When I finished , the re-mix featured a beginning, a middle and the familiar crescendo end. But as any editor will tell you, you cannot replay a trillion times without the ditty seeping into your DNA. Thus, to this day, whenever I hear "I Feel Good", I think of that marathon edit-sesh, the truncated results and the slow-motion frolic of well-heeled housewives spinning in sequined glory.

I just hope the ghost of James Brown will see fit to forgive me.

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