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David Brackett

(b Barnwell, SC, May 3, 1928; d Atlanta, Dec 25, 2006). American soul and funk singer, composer, arranger and bandleader. Born into extreme poverty in the rural South, he began his career as a professional musician in the early 1950s with the gospel-based group, the Flames. By 1956 the group had recorded the rhythm and blues hit Please, Please, Please (Federal, 1956 and changed their name to James Brown and the Famous Flames This early recording established what was to become a stylistic trademark insistent repetition of a single phrase in this case the song s title resulting in a kind of ecstatic trance This approach and Brown s characteristic raspy vocal timbre and impassioned melismas display his debt to the black American gospel tradition His stage shows dancing and inspired call and response interactions with the audience also convey the ...

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James Brown was born and raised in Augusta, Georgia, where he picked cotton, shined shoes, danced, and served time for armed robbery. For a while Brown boxed and even played professional baseball, until an injury made him turn to music. After dabbling in gospel, he changed the name of his singing group from the Swanees to the Famous Flames. The group's local popularity attracted the attention of Federal Records, which signed them to a contract in 1956. Their first record, “Please Please Please,” did well, and “Try Me” topped the Rhythm-and-Blues (R&B) charts in 1958.

As the group s fame spread beyond Georgia Brown s ambition grew He staged elaborate dances formed the James Brown Revue and created a carnival atmosphere at his live shows An emcee worked the crowd into a frenzy before the singer came onstage and Brown reportedly lost seven pounds each night through ...

Article

Rob Bowman

rhythm-and-blues singer, was born James Joe Brown Jr. in a country shack just outside Barnwell, South Carolina, to Joe Gardner and Susan Behlings. His father did various jobs, while nothing is known about his mother's occupation. Brown was raised in extreme poverty, and his parents separated when he was four; two years later he went to live with his great-aunt, Minnie Walker, in Augusta, Georgia.

Brown s father often sang blues songs in the evening and when Brown was four his father gave him a ten cent harmonica His earliest years were spent tap dancing in the street for spare change He claimed that his formidable sense of rhythm stemmed from such humble beginnings A self taught musician Brown began to play organ at the age of eight and later acquired a rudimentary knowledge of bass guitar saxophone and trumpet At eleven Brown won his first talent contest ...

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Monica Berger

singer, songwriter, and bandleader. Born in Barnwell, South Carolina, to Joe Brown (né Gardner), a turpentine worker, and Susan Behlings, James Brown experienced extreme poverty in early childhood. His mother left the family when Brown was four. When he was six, he was sent to Augusta, Georgia, to live with an aunt who ran a brothel. In addition to picking cotton and shining shoes, the young Brown earned money by tap-dancing for World War II troops and by singing in talent contests.

As a teenager Brown broke into a car to steal a coat and was sentenced to eight to sixteen years in prison. He served three years and was released in 1953. He then sang in a doo-wop and gospel ensemble headed by Bobby Byrd Brown soon emerged as the lead singer and the band the Fabulous Flames wowed audiences with their dancing ...

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Rob Bowman

(b Kannapolis, NC, July 22, 1941). American funk singer, songwriter and producer. He was leader of Funkadelic, Parliament and the P-Funk All-Stars. By the age of 11 his family had moved to Newark, New Jersey. When he was 14 he formed a doo wop group which he named the Parliaments after a popular American cigarette brand. The Parliaments recorded singles in the 1950s for the New York-based Hull and Flipp labels. During the 1960s they recorded in the vocal group mode of the Temptations: for Detroit's Golden World and Revilot labels. They had a hit in the summer of 1967, with (I Wanna) Testify (Revilot).

In 1969 Clinton lost the rights to the name ‘The Parliaments’ and consequently signed their backing instrumentalists to Westbound records, as Funkadelic. When he regained the rights in 1971 he signed the vocal group to Invictus records ...

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George Clinton was born in Kannapolis, North Carolina. He grew up in Plainfield, New Jersey, where he worked in a barbershop straightening hair and formed a musical group, the Parliaments. After moving to Detroit, Michigan, Clinton and the Parliaments had a minor hit, “(I Just Wanna) Testify,” in 1967.

Following a lawsuit over the band's name, Clinton formed not one but two new groups—the legendary Parliament and Funkadelic (known collectively as P-Funk)—with many overlapping players. Parliament was more commercial; Funkadelic was outlandish, with musicians wearing diapers, Clinton emerging from a coffin, and plenty of references to sex and drugs. The bands merged in the 1970s, and their concerts, featuring spectacles such as giant spaceships landing onstage, became a major attraction.

For all his eccentricity, Clinton was an influential spokesman for African Americans; his song “Chocolate City” (1975 expresses in terms both witty and poignant the ...

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David Brackett

(b Tuskegee, AL, June 20, 1949). American soul singer and songwriter. He achieved success as the lead singer of the funk sextet the Commodores before becoming the most popular African American balladeer of the late 1970s and 80s. While the Commodores had a few minor hits with songs in their heavy funk style (e.g. Slippery When Wet, 1975), the band's popularity soared with Richie's ballads, Easy (1977), Three Times a Lady (1978), Sail On and Still (both 1979). These fused aspects of country music instrumentation and melody with rhythm and blues phrasing and grooves. Richie's collaborations with Kenny Rogers (Lady, 1980) and Diana Ross (Endless Love, 1981) signalled the end of his association with the Commodores. His solo career continued with unabated success; the albums Lionel Richie (1982) and Can t ...