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An impacting depiction of fiction and addiction from JB

I thought I'd share this for prosperity from something I wrote a year ago, when asked to choose a record during a 7 day challenge on Facebook.


Greetings and welcome to day 5 of my music challenge. Anyone really knows me you’ll know that as a child my first iconic hero and virtual reality older brother unquestionable was Micheal Jackson. But it was who he personified as a kid at the J5’s Motown audition singing “I Got The Feelin’ ", who I’d adopt for life as my ‘spiritual godfather’, Soul Bro Numero Uno, Super Heavy Minister Of Funk” and like his first label King of R&B James Brown. Now it’s time for my Fitzstory, are you sitting comfortably?? Then I’ll begin..and please bear with me on this deep narration. I’ll endeavour not to be long..I did say like RAMP I’ll “Try, Try, Try”

I became indoctrinated into the university of ‘Brownology’ around 1976 aged 12 via my first almost teenage first crush candidate Mauvia who schooled me with JB’s “Bodyheat" album. I could indicate of how darker a shade of brown I am at admitting that, but lets just say she was stunning.

Fast forwarding like a TDK 90 minute tape, by the early to mid 1980’s from various quarters I’m becoming a certified “Nuts whole Hazel Nut’s Cadbury’s take them and cover them in chocolate” fan of James Brown. You have to understand I now at 19-20 years young, and thought I was MJ personifying James, with my relaxed bouffant quiff, slim tonic suits, 50’s ties and slick but eventually well scuffed footwear, doing the James Brown at the Wag on a Friday and Saturday night. Back then when it came to JB “I’m A Greedy Man” was probably hunger statement.

Now the album featuring the afore mentioned song comes from, is where this Fitzstory kicks in.. I bought James Brown’s 1972 ‘“There It Is” album back in 1983 from a fairly local haunt R&D Records in Rayners Lane Middx. I think I probably purchased it from the fast talking and charismatic young black version of George Cole’s St Trinian’s character ‘Flash Harry’ namely Jon Jules. It was in a rack they had of LP’s sold at a bargain basement price of £1. I was instantly attracted to the Noel Edmonds ‘Multicoloured Swap Shop’ colours and artwork of the album, as well as the funky tracks I knew “There It Is”, “Talking Loud And Sayin’ Nothing” and “I Need Help. Reeeezuult!!

Fast forward the TDK tape further to around 1990, I’m in my bedroom which by now resembles a small record shop at my parents house. In trying to create some kind of orderly symmetrical system with these mounting piles of records, the thought of doing that laborious task was long, so some musical therapy was what my mind prescribed. So I decide to put the “There It Is” album on the record deck and listen from it’s beginning and let it run through. Although I’ve listen to it many times being honest, it was the funk tracks that got my attention, because we weren't “slow jamming” the dance floor either as a dj or a dancer to Mr JB. The first two titles on side A is “There It Is” part 1&2, so I’m dancing across what little carpet space there is in my room, spinning, sliding and shuffling on one foot, placing with precision, the records in an orderly fashion in time to the music. This flow is mellowed by the next track a moody but atmospheric slow and sombre groove. Now I already recognised it but clearly overlooked the title or checked the lyrics..until now, and boy did I get slapped in the face with a wet fish!

Multitasking my mind was in two places but this next bit was like having an outer body experience. So I hear James introduce himself “Ladies and gentleman, fellow American’s, lady American’s this is James Brown”. Now in my head I’m thinking “Gwarn James …preach brother preach” because it was obvious he had something to say. In his soft spoken octave he continues to narrate “I wanna talk to you about one of our most deadly killers in the country today”. I'm thinking 'Ok James you’ve got my attention'. But somehow somehow I got lost in translation with a few lines that didn’t quite compute, but re connected on the line where James said “I came to this country without a passport, ever since then I’ve been hunted and sought”. I’m thinking who is this that James is referring to, which gangster is he talking about here, John Dillinger, Al Capone, or Lucky Luciano?”

I’m transfixed in the groove and miss the next few lines and then am alerted by this next bit. “ I can make a mere schoolboy forget his books, I can get a world famous beauty to forget her looks”. Now I thinking whoever this flipping dangerous and dark. Fast forwarding this TDK tape episode further and James professes “I can make a man forsake his country and flag and make a girl sell her body for a five dollar bag. Some think my adventure's a joy and a thrill, but I'll put a gun in your hand and make you kill". I start thinking 'what kind of street hustler is this that James is speaking of ? He’s got no conscience'. Now I take a bigger dislike to this character being described on the record. James continues “I'm financed in China, ran in Japan, I’m respected in Turkey and I'm legal in Siam. So, be you Italian, Jewish, Black or Mex, I can make the most virile of men forget their sex. Now the police have taken you from under my wing, do you think they dare defy me, I who am king?”.

Well now I’m cursing this self proclaimed ‘king of evil’ thinking what kind of bastard is James talking about. Now remember for whatever reason at various points during listening to this song, my mind state is somewhat altered and I’ve missed some integral parts of the tale, but still I manage to retain most of this epic’s gist. But it’s these next lines where I come back to “Reality” like James’s 1974 album title. “Hear now young man and woman, I'll be waitin' at the gate and don't be afraid, don't run, I'm not chased. Sure my name is Heroin, you'll be back for a taste”.

Operation slap face and wet fish run the program now, and I’m speechless and totally flabbergasted as the penny finally drops. That was like being on some high octane drugs and the come down was exhilarating yet mental physically and spiritually draining all at once. Like Eddie Murphy’s James Brown sketch from “Delirious” I had to put needle back to check what I’d missed. I couldn’t believe how I missed out on this before. I realised I’d not picked up on James saying earlier “So I start to dreamin’, I dreamed I walked in a place and I saw a real strange, weird object standin' up talkin' to the people, and I found out it was heroin. That deadly drug that go in your veins”.

How the bleep bleep did I miss that? I was meant to obviously because the unfolded story still impacted on me at the end, infact moreso than if I’d heard it first. I concluded that if I was a junkie and I heard that song, I’d give that dependancy up with a scream like JB followed by a ‘Haaaaaaah’ to kick the habit. Or better still play it to an addict and pray that they’d get the message in the music. Whatever inspired this song about the internal fight an addict has it’s very poignant relevance, but this shows the genius of James Brown..the 4th composer in the quartet of his predecessor B’s Brahms, Bach and Bethoveen. Probably like Carlsberg "King Heroin" is the most powerful and profound experience I’ve had listening to a record so “King Heroin” sits on the musical throne today..I did try to make it short..honest…Check out this album, listen and enjoy..Fitzroy


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