Prescription for what ails us
It is indeed possible to get bad publicity. Not all pub is good pub. Case in point—Ferguson, Missouri. Who’d ever heard of this burg? And now, after our recent crash course introduction, I have to journalistically conclude that my first impression is not exactly Sandals-esque. Town appears to have an issue or two. Then again, what town doesn’t?
That's when Bruce Van Dyke's 32,594th dream kicked in, taking troubled Ferguson and folding it into—a fantasy screenplay. The screenplay of the new movie of the life of James Brown, inspired by Get On Up, mentioned last week in This Space. In this new flick, it just so happens that The Godfather is scheduled to have a show in St. Louis this week, and this is the version of James who is positively a freaky force of nature with his band in the early '70s. The Minister of the New Heavy Funk, and this shit is down. The band gets stone cold wicked all night long, featuring incendiary jams that are relentless, merciless, and capable of revving up pure crantastabules of raw funk that have been unseen and unfelt ever since the Ragin' Nubian Maniacs blew it up at Caligula's Caboose one night in downtown Rome a couple of thousand years ago. Since then, nothing has come along to touch that legendary and hallowed night in terms of planet-threatening seismic funk events. Not until this night with JB and the Boys in St. Louis.
In this dream scene, in the middle of the first set, James turns the band loose a little; lets 'em wander off and get into a groove somewhere. He knows that, sooner or later, that groove is gonna get pretty good. That's what he's hopin' for, because tonight, he's got a little surprise for everybody when the jam starts to make it. When that jam starts to jell, and the place begins to burn as one on point soul power ultra force, James is gonna be ready. He's gonna do his usual thing—encourage and exhort the players a little as they take their solos and stuff. But then, as the final solo winds down, JB will make his play. Feelin' the band locked in, James slowly begins to raise his hands over his head. Slowly, with a real sly, smartass grin on his face while he's doin' it. The people check it out, catch up with it, and start laughin'. Gettin' into it. Then they start doin' it, doin' the hot little dance step that JB has cooked up just for the occasion. Now, everybody sees what kind of mischief The Man is up to. “Hands up, don't shoot. I ain't here to loot. Hands up, don't shoot!” Within a couple of minutes of this brand new torrid communal funk, 16,000 people in the St. Louis Music Palace are gettin' it on, hands dancin' in the sky, and makin' a party out of a bummer, making a wake out of a funeral, makin' a craze out of crazy.