Saturday, December 20, 2014

Track of the Week: James Brown "Go Power at Christmas Time"

Christmas brings us wretchedly saccharine television programming, an orgy of wasteful consumerism, and worst of all, wave upon wave of godawful music.  Back home in Nebraska there are actually radio stations that play that crap for a month solid, making resistance futile.  Going out in public means having one's ears assaulted by tuneless rubbish, often created by people who ought to know better.  It is only in the last five years or so that I have managed to find good Christmas music, the vast majority of it hiding out in obscure corners that streaming services like Pandora and Spotify have shed new light on.

I never knew until this week that James Brown had put out quite a lot of Christmas music.  Like the best of this genre, his holiday tunes are not retreads of the same old standards, but original creations that break from the usual formulas.  "Go Power At Christmas Time" is a classic hard groove like the rest of his output in his late 60s-early 70s glory days.  The piano and bells sound a little Christmas-y, I guess, but the song is hardly drenched in the usual holiday garlands.  It's really more about the JBs getting tight and funky, and the Godfather of Soul pulling out all the vocal stops as only he can.  What I would give to hear this great slice of pure energy blasting at the mall instead of the usual limpid Christmas fare.  In any case, put this one on at your holiday party if you want to start cutting the rug.

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