guilty pleasure monday: out of sight/night train (james brown)

warning: you will get exhausted watching his legs move.

the other night, i had the great pleasure of watching the famous T.A.M.I. Show courtesy of my local PBS station’s beg-a-thon.  for those of you unfamiliar, the T.A.M.I. show is an amazing time capsule of a movie, filmed at a show in Santa Monica, CA in 1964. it was released in theaters, then promptly disappeared for a life in bootleg-dom. it was shown once on cable in 1984, but it remained out of sight (and not in the groovy sense of the phrase) until this year, when dick clark and his merry band of lawyers made things possible for the film’s release onto DVD.

the film is absolutely glorious, and not just because of the amazing hullabaloo-like dancers (including a young toni basil and teri garr) who frug their fannies off. the lineup is incredible: you have a still-innocent marvin gaye, the supremes (riding high at the time on the back of three back-to-back number one hits); you have the miracles; the beach boys; jan and dean; gerry and the pacemakers; the rolling stones (before satisfaction hit the world like a firestorm); and several others.

and of course, you have the godfather of soul: james brown and the flames.

there’s a reason the police call out this performance (which also included prisoner of love/please please please. complete with the king refusing his robe) in their 1980 song when the world is running down [james brown the t.a.m.i. show.] there’s a reason why keith richards is widely quoted as saying that following james brown’s performance in this show was the biggest mistake of [their] lives.

do you see the young lady who is shaking it in the audience during night train? she is losing the curlers in her hair, and yet, she doesn’t care.  brown is screaming; he’s grunting; and something primal is just hitting people in the audience and driving them wild. i’m sure that this has got to be the part that eddie murphy stole for his famous james brown hot tub sketch. of course, eddie’ take on james (NSFW):

there are only two artists i think i would never, ever want to follow if i were a performer. i could never follow jimi hendrix after he set his guitar ablaze. and wild horses could not make me follow james brown.  his energy; his superfantastical movements; his theatrics… unbelievable. for those kiddies out there who think michael jackson invented moonwalking, think again. michael surely studied at the feet of james brown. (in fact, it appears after this performance that a young mick jagger is attempting some of james brown’s moves.)

anyway, the film is delightful.  there are a few separated-at-birth moments in it, of course:




not to mention the flames member who sports a ‘do much like the three stooges’ beloved moe howard.

but i digress.

james brown is da bomb. if there’s a rock and roll heaven, then i bet james is teaching some of those slackers how to dance.

5 thoughts on “guilty pleasure monday: out of sight/night train (james brown)

  1. That totally made my day. Back in college, I wrote a paper on James Brown, titled something like “Grunt Production in the Music of James Brown”. I really ought to find that.

  2. hi, magpie, and welcome to my little corner of the universe 🙂

    you got to write a paper about james brown??? SWEET! totally beats anything i wrote about women writers!

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