Edited by Azizi Powell
This post provides information about James Brown & The Famous Flames and showcases a video of that groups' performance at the 1964 T.A.M.I. concert.
Selected comments from that YouTube video's viewer discussion thread are also included in this post. In particular, I've selected a number of comments from that discussion thread that include African American Vernacular English (AAVE) words & phrases and a few comments from that discussion thread that include English idioms.
The content of this post is presented for historical, cultural, entertainment, and aesthetic purposes.
All copyrights remain with their owners.
Thanks to James Brown & The Famous Flames for their musical legacy. Thanks also to the producers of this video all those who are quoted in this post, and the publisher of this video on YouTube.
INFORMATION ABOUT JAMES BROWN & THE FAMOUS FLAMES
"James Joseph Brown (May 3, 1933 – December 25, 2006) was an American singer, songwriter, record producer, dancer and bandleader. The founding father of funk music and a major figure of 20th century popular music and dance, he is often referred to as the "Godfather of Soul". In a career that spanned six decades, Brown influenced the development of several music genres.
Brown began his career as a gospel singer in Toccoa, Georgia. Joining an R&B vocal group called the Avons that later evolved to become the Flames, Brown served as the group's lead singer. First coming to national public attention in the late 1950s as a member of the singing group the Famous Flames with the hit ballads "Please, Please, Please" and "Try Me", Brown built a reputation as a tireless live performer with the Famous Flames and his backing band, sometimes known as the James Brown Band or the James Brown Orchestra. Brown's success peaked in the 1960s with the live album Live at the Apollo and hit singles such as "Papa's Got a Brand New Bag", "I Got You (I Feel Good)" and "It's a Man's Man's Man's World". During the late 1960s, Brown moved from a continuum of blues and gospel-based forms and styles to a profoundly "Africanized" approach to music-making that influenced the development of funk music. By the early 1970s, Brown had fully established the funk sound after the formation of the J.B.s with records such as "Get Up (I Feel Like Being a) Sex Machine" and "The Payback". Brown also became notable for songs of social commentary, including the 1968 hit "Say It Loud - I'm Black and I'm Proud". Brown continued to perform and record until his death in 2006 from congestive heart failure."...
"The Famous Flames were an American rhythm and blues vocal group founded in Toccoa, Georgia, in 1953 by Bobby Byrd. James Brown began his career as a member of The Famous Flames, emerging as the lead singer by the time of their first professional recording, "Please, Please, Please", in 1956.
On hit songs such as "Try Me", "Bewildered", "Think", "I Don't Mind", and "I'll Go Crazy", the Flames' smooth backing harmonies contrasted strikingly with Brown's raw, impassioned delivery, and their synchronized dance steps were a prominent feature of their live shows. Altogether, they performed on 12 songs that reached the Billboard R&B and pop charts, in addition to being featured on numerous albums, including the groundbreaking Live at the Apollo. They appeared in the films T.A.M.I. Show and Ski Party as well as on various television programs. Members of the Flames also contributed as songwriters and choreographers. In 2012 the Flames were retroactively inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame alongside Brown. On their Rock & Roll Hall of Fame page, they are described as "a group of singers, performers and dancers that created the complementary elements of one of the greatest stage shows of all time.""...
The Famous Flames are sometimes erroneously identified as James Brown's "band", a confusion partly fostered by their record companies' inconsistent labeling credit practices. Although members of the group did play instruments in some of their earliest shows and recordings, by 1959 Brown had hired a touring band and from that point on the Flames contributed primarily as backing vocalists and dancers. The band was billed separately as the James Brown Band, and later as the James Brown Orchestra."...
SHOWCASE VIDEO: James Brown & The Famous Flames - The Legendary TAMI Show Performance
RollingStones50yrs2, Published on Aug 16, 2014
James Brown Live on the T.A.M.I. show, 1964
00:00 "Out of Sight"
03:11 "Prisoner of Love"
06:42 "Please, Please, Please"
12:55 "Night Train"
These comments from that video are numbed by me for referencing purposes only. However, these selected comments may not be given in consecutive order (since some comments aren't quoted).
Particular attention is given to some comments that include African American Vernacular English (AAVE) words & phrases. A few comments with some English idioms are also included in this compilation.. I've also added brief explanatory meanings for some of those words and phrases.
Additions and corrections are welcome for these definitions.
1. Damien Cunningham
"JB caught the Holy Ghost. Back up singers need fans lmao. Love it tho."
James Brown was dancing as though he got the Holy Spirit (got happy, got religion), i.e. he moved as though he was on a higher level and didn't know what he was doing
I think the sentence "back up singers need fans lmao" is a play on their name "Flames" and an implication that their dancing needed more life (energy).
"I can use many words to describe this performance, but the first word that comes to mind when I watch this....TIGHT!!! The rhythm section is incredible. Listen to the bass and drums. Locked tight in the pocket. Amazing!!!"
In the context of an artistic performance, "tight" is a high compliment meaning "flawless", "everything done extremely well"; "on point"
3. Maria Music Maria
"James was gettin down with the get down!"
"gettin down with the get down" = another way of saying "really getting down" (performing really really well)
4. Talia Sproaps
"The background singers harmony and choreography was giving me LIFE during please please please. YAAAAASSSS!"
"+Talia Sproaps They are The Famous Flames, the original singing group that James Brown started his career with back in the 1950's They had many hit records together. Their names are BOBBY BYRD (yes , the same Bobby Byrd that James sang "Get On Up" with). BOBBY BENNETT, and LLOYD STALLWORTH. Learn more about the FAMOUS FLAMES at this link: https://www.facebook.com/thefamousflamesbysandibennett"
"[something or someone who] gives me life" = energizes me
"YAAAAASSSS!" = an intensified form of the word "Yes".
6. Rocky Elmore
"what strikes me is not the voice, not the moves, not the dynamics, not the music, but his passion and effort. Everything else is only an embellishment of the movements in his soul, James won my heart with passion alone. The rest he had would make this performance legendary as not only a pop performance but as a true work of art."
"The personification of showmanship. Audience in the palm of his hands."
"audience in the palm of his hands" = the audience was captivated by his performance; he could do anything he wanted with the audience and they would love it
8. aaron merrida
"Mr. Bird and the Flames cuttin up, nice"
"Mr. Bird" probably refers to Donald Byrd, one of the Flames. "Cuttin up" may mean "cutting the rug" (dancing). Or "cuttin up" may mean "having fun".
"Check out the drummer at 6:34 he totally loses his drumstick and picks up another one and keeps it pushing. So cool. lol"
10. moe salem
"so i looked up the definition of swag and i got a link to this video, now i understand...."
"from swagger. The appearance of being very cool, smooth, looking good, dressing nice and often having lots of money to flash which draws them the attention of others. A way of carrying yourself like a star."
"That is how you bring down the house"
"bring down the house" = performs so well that the audience loudly cheers and applauds
12. Steve Slack
"out of sight"
out of sight = African American Vernacular term meaning "extremely well done" (something whose praise is so high you can't even see it)
"Jackson got the moonwalk from this man.
"Jackson" = "King of Pop" Michael Jackson
14. james andorf
"James is ......THE MAN........never be duplicated"
in the context of this comment, "THE MAN" is the best of the best, the boss, the man who leads all other people
15. James Pearson
"Nobody and I mean nobody could follow that! After" Please,Please" it was a wrap,then he took what was left of the building on,"Nighttrain! "Mr.Dynamite was not playing. Again,Nobody,not Michael Jackson, Prince,or God himself was following that!"
"it was a wrap" = "a phrase used in film making to tell actors and crew that filming of a particular scene, film, etc. has finished" http://dictionary.cambridge.org/us/dictionary/english/it-s-a-wrap
"Mr. Dynamite" (one of James Brown's nicknames) was not playing" = he was very serious about what he was doing.
"then he took what was left of the building" = "he captivated the rest of the audience who had not yet been captivated by his performance)
16. INDIGO' Z
"Esse é o malha funk!"
Google translate from Portuguese to English = "This is some mesh funk"
The words "knitting" and "stitch" were also given as translation suggestions. Given those words, I think "mesh" here has the same meaning as the African American vernacular use of the word "tight” (in this case, a performance that is extremely well put together)
17. Nathaniel King
"The Flames have got to be the baddest back up dancers ever!"
"the baddest" = the very best
18. williamg25525 months ago
"+Nathaniel King They were singers too !!! A fact that is not widely known, was that JAMES BROWN was a Famous Flame TOO . He was the group's Lead Singer."
19. Nathaniel King
"100 percent right!"
"This performance was perfect from top to bottom!! That drummer was sick.."
"sick" = very very good
21. Marc Pina
"It’s an act Brown distilled from both charismatic Baptist church services and professional wrestling, and it’s a hell of a performance, one he pulled out, with all his other shimmying, strutting, moonwalking stops, in order to best the night’s lineup of big names like the Beach Boys, Chuck Berry, Marvin Gaye, the Supremes, and the Rolling Stones, who had the misfortune of having to follow Brown’s act. Keith Richards later called it the biggest mistake of their career. You can see why.
in the context of that usage, to blow away [someone] = leaves them far behind (because of the power of your performance)
""Come on, James, let's go, you've had enough.""
"NO, I WANNA SANG!!!"
"Sang" = African American Vernacular English present tense form of the word "sing" which means "to sing very well, especially to sing soulfully very well"
"Mr. James Brown is the Greatest entertainer & Baddest dancer on thee Planet we may never see the likes of again.......A true Legend......RIP JB......."
"The FAMOUS FLAMES were NOT just "James Brown's backup singers" . They CO-STARRED right along with HIM !! He (Brown) was a Famous Flame TOO !! Brown NEVER performed live without them on EVERY show...for over a dozen years !!! Their group name was on EVERY RECORD. The group's name was on EVERY THEATRE MARQUEE...right along with his . James Brown & The Famous Flames were a GROUP !!!"
"Soul Brother #1, you made Augusta GA look good"
"Soul brother" = a Black man
Augusta, Georgia was James Brown's hometown.
26. Buzz Davis
"Jaaaaaaaaammmesssssssssss Brown---killing it!"
27. Glen Carta
"This 17 min clip packs more power and tightness and badassness then any 2 hr clip ive ever seen.....now i must scour the floor for my jaw !!!!"
28. Steven Judge
Jamming to the point of exhaustion, then, giving just a little bit more. Love James Brown!!!!!!
"Jamming" = refers to that entire performance (soulfully singing, playing musical instruments & dancing)
"That's what you call killin it! Follow that Mick!"
"killin it" = doing something extremely well; "owning it"
"Follow that Mick" refers to Mick Jaggers' insistence that he and his group The Rolling Stones would be the last act in that concert. Given James Brown & the Flames' outstanding performance, that was a BIG mistake.
"PURE SOUL" - indicating that James Brown is the essence of Black soulfulness and all that that entails (the capital letters amplifies that statement)
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