The big payback.
Soul Brother Number One, Mr. Dynamite, the Hardest Working Man in Show Business, Minister of The New New Super Heavy Funk, Mr. Please Please Please, The Boss, the Godfather of Soul.
Our little burg had a big civic celebration back in 1966. I was twelve. Said celebration included a "Teen Dance" featuring a few local bands, and headlined by The McCoys ("Hang on Sloopy) and the James Brown Revue.
Sweet Jesus. James Brown in 1966 playing for a buncha pimply-faced, slack-jawed yokels at a roller rink in Wheeling W.Va. Talk about pearls before swine. We had heard him on the radio, of course. "Papa's Got a Brand New Bag" and "I Feel Good" had been huge hits. But when James Brown came to our town and got all the way down on "Please, Please Please", and they came out to place that red sequined cape on his apparently exhausted frame, and he burst forward in a climactic cloud of trumpets and triumph and sweat and pain and cheap pomade, well, what could a 12 year-old white kid do but literally burst into tears from the sheer passion of it all.
It was like having a ticket to watch Michaelangelo paint the Sistine Chapel. But with a horn section.
UPDATE: Jason Chervokas has a nice piece on JB.
FURTHER UPDATE: It seems JB will be lying in state, as it were, for a public viewing Thursday at (wait for it) The Apollo Theatre. Now that's just perfect. Just perfect.