Monday, 16 January 2017

Sympathetic Nervous Systemic Ecstasy

"Cold Sweat" (Parts 1 and 2), by James Brown and whatever his band was called in 1967

This body blow of a masterpiece, apparently put together and recorded in one take during one  afternoon in Cincinnati, Ohio, hit the world (dazed the world? KO'ed the world?) in 1967. If I recall correctly, 1967 was a heyday year for all the young rock gods living outside of Cincinnati, Ohio taking three days to get a guitar break down, which might have been be part of a song that might have taken several weeks, on albums that might have taken several months to finally . . . what, "get right?"

One afternoon. C'mon, rock gods of 1967. James Brown and his company of consummate musical pros and artists made this -- "Cold Sweat," goddammit -- in less time than it took you guys to survive a minor siege of LSD madness. I've read some technical analyses of its great simplicity, and I sort of understand them, but what I do understand is that even if I one day end up in a hospital where no one knows me, in a bed constructed to keep me in it, and none of my children have yet reached me, and I'm worried about unfinished business, and I'm feeling pretty clammily anxious, I will search this song out, demand it from whomever is there. I am willing to pay extra taxes for it, beginning now.

Listen to it many times -- for the singing (and the screaming, oh, the screaming), for the horns, for the sax solo, for the bass line, for the drummer (who "gets some"). It's all so simple, and yet nobody thought it up until James Brown and his band thought it up and then played it, together, like early gods of the earth.

It's a hammer to the heart and the brain, and the rest of whatever body you've been blessed or cursed with, which will not only be compelled to move when you hear it, but to understand more than a little bit about itself (as opposed to the amorphous silliness of whatever "spirituality" is supposed to teach you).

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