Results for James Brown

interviews

Bootsy Collins

Time to get funky. Jim and Greg are joined by Bootsy Collins to go through the history of Funk. The heart of the genre is the rhythm. When James Brown wanted to“give the drummer some,”he meant it. In addition, as funk grew so did the development of the black band. Previously, as with doo wop groups, the emphasis was on the singer. Bootsy's own career as a singer, songwriter and bassist mirrors the development of funk. After performing in the Pacemakers with his brother Catfish, both Collins men joined James Brown's backing band The JB's. Bootsy credits James Brown with teaching him the concept of "The One," and they collaborated on funk classics like "Get Up (I Feel Like Being a) Sex Machine" and "Super Bad." His next move was to Detroit to work with George Clinton on Parliament and Funkadelic, and he later formed his own group, Rubber Band. His latest album is aptly named The Funk Capital of the World.

To cap off the segment, Jim and Greg talk about two significant funk tracks. Greg plays "It's Your Thing," by The Isley Brothers, featuring virtuosic bass playing by a 16-year old Ernie Isley. Jim goes to Bootsy's home state and plays The Ohio Players' song "Funky Worm."

Go to episode 303

Ron Asheton of The Stooges

A couple of weeks ago Jim and Greg talked about the punk pioneers The Ramones. This week it's time to look at the other pillar of punk: The Stooges. In the late '60s and early '70s the band released three major albums, and then disintegrated into drugs and power struggles. Now, almost 35 years later, three of the four original members reunited to record a new album, The Weirdness. Jim and Greg invite guitarist Ron Asheton to talk about the band's history and how they came back together.

Lead singer Iggy Pop (James Osterberg), guitarist Ron Asheton, drummer Scott Asheton and bassist Dave Alexander formed The Stooges in Ann Arbor, MI in 1967. They were signed to Elektra Records a year later after opening for“big brother band”the MC5. There they had their first self-titled album produced by John Cale of The Velvet Underground. Jim and Greg talk to Ron Asheton about the band's first time in the studio (and their first in-studio strike), and learn about how they developed their signature, primitive sound. They point to the propulsive Bo Diddley-inspired rhythms of songs like "1969."

The Stooges went on to record Fun House, which reflected their love of James Brown and John Coltrane, and then things started to fall apart. Iggy went on to form a relationship with David Bowie (and with heroin), and got the band signed to Columbia Records. Ron Asheton was bounced down to bassist, however. He explains that their subsequent release, Raw Power, is a good album, but not indicative of their true sound.

Go to episode 66

Nelson George

Music critic, author and screenwriter Nelson George joins Jim and Greg on the show this week. His many books have become cornerstones on American thinking about hip hop, soul and pop music. Now he has a new book out called City Kid: A Writer's Memoir of Ghetto Life and Post-Soul Success. After years of exploring the lives of others, including Chris Rock, James Brown and Russell Simmons, Nelson took himself on as a subject. He relays his experience growing up in Brownsville. Music and art gave him a way to experience the outside world and later became his ticket to success. He even made his way to Hollywood, writing and producing the hip hop parody film CB4.

Go to episode 182
specials

The Compact Disc

Rock Doctors

Thirty years ago this month, the team from Phillips developed the technology behind Compact Discs. Since the pressing of the first CD, the music industry has become completely revolutionized. By 1999 CDs brought in 15 billion dollars to record labels. But, that same technology has also lead to the industry's downfall.

To honor, and mourn, the CD in its old age, Jim and Greg each play a song that illustrates what the shiny disc has meant to them. Jim plays a song from the first album he purchased on CD, The Beatles' Revolver. Previously "And Your Bird Can Sing" was only available on the UK release, but after the advent of CDs, Jim was able to have it in the US.

Greg chooses to play "Get It Together," from the James Brown box set Star Time. For him the CD era was an opportunity to get access to music you might not otherwise hear. The labels were curating their back catalog with box sets of early Elvis or Robert Johnson.“Get It Together”was a track Greg searched for for years, and thanks to CDs, he got to hear it again.

Go to episode 172

Desert Island Jukebox

Frequently at the end of Sound Opinions, Jim and Greg add songs to the Desert Island Jukebox. This jukebox is filled with tracks that Jim and Greg would take with them if stranded on a desert island. They‘ve posed this same age-old rock question to many of their guests. In this episode you’ll hear the music that these artists say they can't live without:

  • Saul Williams: James Brown, Live at the Olympia
  • Alex Kapranos of Franz Ferdinand: Leonard Cohen, The Songs of Leonard Cohen
  • Nick McCarthy of Franz Ferdinand: Neil Young, "Ohio"
  • Peaches: Prince, Purple Rain
  • Laurent Brancowitz of Phoenix: Serge Gainsbourg, Histoire de Melody Nelson
  • Thomas Mars of Phoenix: D'Angelo, Voodoo
  • Craig Finn of The Hold Steady: The Replacements, "I Will Dare"
  • Tad Kubler of The Hold Steady: Led Zeppelin, Physical Graffiti
  • Franz Nicolay of The Hold Steady: American Music Club, Mercury
  • Scott Hutchison of Frightened Rabbit: The Hold Steady, Stay Positive
  • Grant Hutchison of Frightened Rabbit: Bob Dylan, Planet Waves
  • Wayne Coyne and Steven Drozd of The Flaming Lips: John Lennon, "(Just Like) Starting Over"
Go to episode 213

Desert Island Jukebox

All year long, Jim and Greg take turns dropping coins in the Desert Island Jukebox, talking about songs and albums they‘d need with them if stranded on an island. But now, at the year’s end, they're gonna take a break and let some of their favorite past guests do the heavy lifting. Hear what music they can't live without:

  • Lindsey Buckingham: The Beatles, Revolver
  • Trombone Shorty: Louis Armstrong, "On the Sunny Side of the Street"
  • Fred Armisen: Stereolab, "Cybele's Reverie"
  • Trey Parker: Elton John, "Indian Sunset" and Live in Australia with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra
  • Matt Stone: James Brown, "There Was a Time"
  • Peter Hook: Nico, "Chelsea Girl"
  • Kelis: Rhye, "Open"
  • Robert Plant: Low, The Great Destroyer
  • Kerry King of Slayer: Ozzy Ozbourne, Blizzard of Oz
  • Dave Lombardo of Slayer: Amy Winehouse, Back to Black

Plus, check out our 2009 Desert Island Jukebox Special.

Go to episode 474

Live Albums

The concept of a Live Album is a controversial one for many rock fans. Some see these releases as merely filler between proper new albums. And some see these records as a way to experience a specific musical moment again. For Jim and Greg, the following are great albums because they either bring something new to an artist's work, or capture a time worth remembering. As you gear up for the summer concert season, enjoy the following live albums:

Go to episode 179

Holiday Spectacular

Holiday music maven Andy Cirzan visits Sound Opinions every December to share with Jim and Greg a new collection of unique tunes for the season. From the weird to the wonderful, these are not your standard Christmas carols. By day Andy runs Jam Productions in Chicago. By night he searches through record stores, dustbins and basements to find gems for Sound Opinions and his annual compilation. This edition is called Santa Soul. You‘ll be treated to holiday soul comps of yesteryear. These are killer Xmas dusties from the ’60s and '70s -tracks by well-known artists like James Brown, as well as groovy underground acts. So light up the yule log and let the soul party begin! Cheers from everyone at Sound Opinions!

Go to episode 368
classic album dissections

James Brown Live at the Apollo

Before he was America's Godfather of Soul, James Brown was the king of the South's segregated "Chitlin' Circuit". It took Live at the Apollo - an album recorded over fifty years ago on Brown's own dime - to catapult him onto the national stage. With the success of the Mick Jagger-produced biopic Get On Up, we decided to revisit our Classic Album Dissection of Brown's Live at the Apollo with help from music writer RJ Smith. He's the author of The One: The Life and Music of James Brown. As RJ explains, James Brown was all about the live experience. He knew if radio listeners could just hear his live show, he could be "Gary Cooper big." He was right. High-energy numbers like“Night Train”and“Think”propelled Brown onto the pop charts and super-charged his career. But, as Greg notes, Live at the Apollo wasn't just a turning point for Brown personally, it was a turning point for music. Suddenly doo-wop and soul was starting to sound…funky.

Go to episode 459

James Brown Live at the Apollo

Before he was America's Godfather of Soul, James Brownwas the king of the South's segregated chitlin' circuit. It took Live at the Apollo - an album recorded fifty years ago last month on Brown's own dime- to catapult him onto the national stage. In honor of its fiftieth, Jim and Greg give Brown's Live at the Apollo a well-deserved Classic Album Dissection with help from music writer RJ Smith. RJ's biography of Brown, The One: The Life and Music of James Brown, came out earlier this year. As RJ explains, James Brown was all about the live experience. He knew if radio listeners could just hear his live show, he could be“Gary Cooper big.”He was right. High-energy numbers like“Night Train”and“Think”propelled Brown onto the pop charts and super-charged his career. But as Greg notes, Live at the Apollo wasn't just a turning point for Brown personally, it was a turning point for music. Suddenly doo-wop and soul was starting to sound…funky.

Go to episode 362
reviews
kink khan and the shrines

King Khan and the Shrines The Supreme Genius of King Khan & the Shrines

The day after The Hold Steady took the stage, Pitchfork fans were wowed by the antics of King Khan and the Shrines. Jim was less wowed with Khan's own wardrobe malfunction, which he felt distracted from the music. He's impressed with Khan's collection of past recordings, The Supreme Genius of King Khan & the Shrines, which is almost like Iggy Pop meets James Brown. Greg hears Nuggets-era soul, and thinks The Supreme Genius is a great introduction into Khan's music. Both critics give the album a Buy It rating.

JimGreg
Go to episode 139
dijs

Jim & Greg

Go to episode 42

Jim

“Stranger to My Happiness”Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings

This week, Jim pays tribute to Sharon Jones, a huge figure in the neo-soul revival, who died November 18 after a battle with cancer. With her powerful voice and electric stage presence, Jones was, according to Jim, the true inheritor of the legacy of fellow Augusta, Georgia native James Brown. She moved to Brooklyn where she ended up teaming up with The Dap-Kings, the finest soul / R&B backing band since Stax. Their 2013 song "Stranger to My Happiness" exemplifies her bravery against her illness. Ostensibly a love song, the lyrics also find Jones reckoning with mortality. She didn‘t wear a wig after losing her hair from chemotherapy, refusing to pretend to be anything she wasn’t. You can see that in a powerful video Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings recorded for“Stranger to My Happiness,”which is Jim's Desert Island Jukebox pick of the week.

Go to episode 575

Greg

“(Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher”Jackie Wilson

This week, Greg has the legendary Jackie Wilson on his mind. Early in his career, Wilson drew comparisons to Elvis but in fact, you couldn't liken him to anyone. Wilson heavily influenced many artists, namely Michael Jackson and even James Brown with his style, dance moves and vocals. In the '50s, he had an amazing run with big hits but floundered in the '60s. When he came to Chicago to work with record producer Carl Davis, they cut one of Greg's favorite tracks ever, "(Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher." Greg thinks this is pretty much as perfect as a song can get, and that's why he selected it as his Desert Island Jukebox pick this week.

Go to episode 536
lists

James Brown's“The Payback”in hip-hop

  • Queen Latifah, "If You Don't Know"
  • LL Cool J, "The Boomin' System"
  • Mary J Blige, "Everything"
  • Ice Cube, "The Wrong Nigga to Fuck Wit"
  • Massive Attack, "Protection"
  • En Vogue, "(My Lovin‘) You’re Never Gonna Get It"

James Brown fans should also check out the articles written by Jim and Greg after his death.

Go to episode 57

End of Summer Songs

Labor Day Weekend is here and it's the last gasp of days at the pool, outdoor barbecues and fun in the sun. As fall starts to set in we say goodbye to the sunny season with our End of the Summer playlist.

Go to episode 562

Anti-Love Songs

With the ghost of St. Valentine looming over us all, this week's show is dedicated to those music fans for whom "Love Stinks." Jim and Greg discuss their favorite anti-love songs and hear some listeners' picks. Here are some songs to get you out of the mood for Valentine's Day.

Go to episode 11

Songs About America

Sound Opinions celebrates Independence Day this week with Jim and Greg's favorite Songs about America. These are great rock songs that capture our country's spirit — the good, the bad and the ugly.

Go to episode 136

Andy Cirzan's 2008 Christmas Compilation (The Cassette Years: Part 1)

Go to episode 160
news

Music News

Music legend James Brown died earlier this week at the age of 73, so the first part of the show is spent paying homage to the“hardest working man in show business.”Jim and Greg discuss Brown's long-running career from the soul era up through today's hip hop music. In fact, Greg explains that Brown's track "King Heroin" is a rap tune that pre-dates hip hop. And, Brown is one of the most sampled musicians in rock history. To illustrate this fact, our hosts take the track "The Payback" and play some of the major hip hop songs that are built on it.

Go to episode 57

Music News

Go to episode 587

Music News

AC/DC is following in the path of Garth Brooks, The Eagles and Journey. The veteran hard rock band inked a deal to sell its forthcoming album exclusively at Wal-Mart. This formula has been successful for bands in the past; The Eagles' Long Road Out of Eden sold almost 3 million copies, all without the help of a record company. But, AC/DC is still on Columbia Records, which makes Jim and Greg wonder about their motivation. They'll be curious to see how the profits break down between the band, their label and the retail store when the album is released this fall.

The latest in the line to follow the Radiohead record release model is Girl Talk, aka Gregg Gillis. The sample-based artist and former Sound Opinions guest is following up his underground hit Night Ripper with a new album due out soon. Like In Rainbows, Feed the Animals will be a pay-what-you-want release. But the real question is if Girl Talk will have to pay. The new album will have over 300 samples — none of which Gillis legally obtained. As more fans take notice of his work it's possible more lawyers will as well.

The godfather of soul passed away two years ago, but James Brown left behind a treasure trove of his earthly goods. Many of these items will be auctioned off at Christie's later this month. Who will reap the benefits of the sale is unclear due to the chaotic state of the singer's estate. But fans can get hold of such artifacts as Brown's Grammy and Kennedy Center Awards, his baby grand piano and Hammond organ, as well as personal notes and photos. Jim and Greg are most interested in all his grooming products though. Just imagine the hair magic Greg could produce with Brown's pick.

Go to episode 133

Music News

Jim and Greg discussed the great Kanye West/50 Cent sales battle a couple of weeks ago, and this week the results are in. Kanye took it in a landslide with a #1 spot on the Billboard charts and a whopping 957,000 copies sold. Kanye's album Graduation is the biggest selling album so far this year and is the 15th biggest sales frame since Nielsen SoundScan began tracking data in 1991. 50 Cent's album Curtis only sold 691,000 in the first week, though for a hip hop debut that's nothing to scoff at. As Jim and Greg note, no one should shed a tear for 50 Cent. On Forbes' list of the biggest earning hip hop stars, Fiddy holds the #2 spot behind mogul Jay-Z. So, despite this recent loss, 50 Cent is laughing "Straight to the Bank."

If you've been surfing YouTube recently, you may have noticed Trent Reznor's call for more stealing. The man behind Nine Inch Nails is fed up with his record company's decision to hike prices for his album Year Zero and he let his grievances be known at an Australian concert. While he doesn't legally have the authority to give his music away, he does have a point; HMV in Australia is selling Year Zero for AU $32.99, which converts to about $28 in the States. That's definitely more than a music fan should have to pay for an album, especially one that utilized a web-based marketing campaign.

And while one musician embraces the web, another does not. Pop icon Prince plans to sue YouTube and other major web sites for unauthorized use of his music in a bid to“reclaim his art on the Internet.”In a recent statement his representative wrote:“YouTube … are clearly able (to) filter porn and pedophile material but appear to choose not to filter out the unauthorized music and film content which is core to their business success.”Prince obviously doesn‘t need to use the web to build a fan base, but to Sound Opinions H.Q., he’s beginning to sound like a cranky old man.

Also in the news is the death of longtime James Brown collaborator Bobby Byrd at the age of 73. One of the chief architects of Brown's trademark sound, Byrd is often referred to as“The Godfather of Soul's Godfather.”You can hear his contribution in tons of early Brown tracks. In fact, the repeating phrase“Get on up,”on "Get Up (I Feel Like Being A) Sex Machine" was sung by Byrd. Byrd also had a successful solo career, and as Greg explains, his music can be heard sampled in countless late early hip hop songs. To pay honor to the soul/funk/R&B legend, Jim and Greg play his song, "I Know You Got Soul."

Jim and Greg speak with John Jurgensen, a reporter for the Wall Street Journal. John recently wrote an article about how US visa procedures are squelching a British pop invasion. Artists like Lily Allen, M.I.A. and recent Mercury Prize winners The Klaxons have had to cancel tour dates and postpone recording sessions due to difficulties obtaining visas. John explains that this is partly due to Homeland Security crackdowns, which now mandate that artists themselves have to go to an embassy in person for fingerprinting and a retinal scan. John also says that artists have to prove that that they are legitimate,“internationally recognizable”acts. Jim and Greg wonder just how much more legit you have to be if Mercury Prize winners are getting hassled. The three reporters understand that these procedures are in place not just to protect Americans from danger but also from a loss of jobs, but unlike in the agriculture and technology industries, you can't sub one musician for another. And a loss of jobs and tour dates for one singer means the loss of many for the hundreds and thousands of promoters, roadies, sound engineers and teamsters here in the States.

Go to episode 95

Music News

Dick Clark, an adult even more youthful than Jim or Greg, died this week at age 82. The“world's oldest teenager”helped put rock and roll on the map through American Bandstand. As Greg explains, he was the bridge between the teens and the grown-ups and introduced people to a number of important acts including James Brown, Buddy Holly, and Ike and Tina Turner. While not the hippest of music fans, he also provided a platform for acts like Public Image Limited and a young Madonna. Though perhaps that was much to his chagrin.

Go to episode 334