Thursday, July 22, 2010

"Doing it to Death" (1973)

98. JB's, "Doing it to Death" (June 23, 1973, #22)

Not sure why this went out under the name of the band, elsewhere credited as Fred Wesley & the J.B.'s; that's James Brown as usual in charge of the proceedings in this simple and overwhelmingly effective rave-up. It's not as if this band (whose individuals he calls by name: Fred, Maceo, and one mysterious entity referred to as "brother ... I won't call your name, I don't want no people to know you're in here")—it's not as if this band was so different from any on the mass of product that bears the official imprimatur of James Brown (let alone, of course, that "JB's" doesn't particularly differentiate anything in the first place). Maybe it has something to do with assigning royalties. Be that as it may, it includes another one of the master's famous and among his most thorough and far-reaching explications in situ of the exigencies of song structure, not the least of its many appeals (and refreshing for once that it's not about the bridge): "In order for me to get down, I got to get in D," he begins, with the band at that moment in F. "Need to get in D, dog for D / Down D, funky D, shakin' D, down D." At which point, of course, the band takes it on down to D. What else were they supposed to do? As for me, I'm normally about standing on my chair waving my hands over my head at this juncture. When it says "doing it to death," that's just what it means, and even 10 minutes for both parts 1 and 2, in the extended version, are not nearly enough. Thank God at least for repeat function.

No comments:

Post a Comment