The Way James Brown Sings

They just don’t make ’em like they used to. One is hard pressed to compare the old music legends with today’s studio-made superstars. The vapid and empty performances of Britney Spears leave much to be desired when you put her next to say…Michael Jackson.

Okay, maybe that’s not fair. Or maybe it is. Both were/are major label music stars. And they performed together so you kind of can’t help but compare. You don’t have to be partial to any music genre to realize there’s something special about that kind of heart and soul. And of course actually singing! For the record, I actually enjoy some of Britney’s studio music. And for that matter I listen to a lot of pop.

Anyway, this talk about heart and soul seems to leap out of some nostalgic antiquity when bands actually wrote their own songs and being “hot” had NOTHING to do with it.



Tom Petty

Tom Petty

Way back in the mists of time it is said that the music industry was about the music.

I won’t even call all this digital pop an illusion because illusion implies magic. Mirage because a mirage leads you astray to your doom.

Well, I hope those days of music lore and legend find their way back. We felt a kind of connection to the music and it’s progenitors that we don’t find very often today.

I liken it to writing. To any art. And you could stretch it to living too. Connecting emotionally. It’s been called melodrama. It’s what makes us care about the people involved and what happens to them. It’s what connects us to the universe.

I discovered that once something becomes a chore, I lose all interest. I’m really bad at “doing chores.” I just hate that word. “Do yer chores before dessert!” and “Mamma says I cainte go no place till I do ma chores,” well that’s what I think of that word, drudgery and restriction.

It’s all about interest. If you can only find a way to put interest into things. To not “do”, but “create.” Strike “going to work” from your vocabulary. Is it “painting a wall?” Or protecting your home from the ravages of elemental decay?

Is it “taking out the garbage?” Or perhaps “conquering the discarded chaos of the material universe?” A bit cheesy, but I’d rather conquer discarded chaos than take out the garbage, any day.

If we can put purpose in place of job titles, we’ve got it made. If I sit down to “crank out a word quota,” I just bomb. Even just shooting for the next chapter is leagues better. I’m always going for getting the book done, because I use that to drive me through to the end, but if ever I get bored, I just stop and go back and find where I started writing that stupid paper for Mr. Harris in grade school. Yes, you Mr. Harris!

Anything can be made into drudgery. And any drudgery can be revived into purposeful activity again, unless it totally doesn’t need to be done and someone is just making you do busy-work, in which case you can free yourself from the yoke of slavery.

So here’s my idea. Try to live the way James Brown sings.