Funky Friday: Cold Sweat

At last…and no, this isn’t about Etta James.

There is a James that factors into this post, of course. I’m surprised no one has called me out on this.

I mean, how can I have a weekly post called Funky Friday, and not have James Brown in there somewhere?

Seven previous posts, and while he was mentioned in a couple of them, his music was nowhere to be found.

That has been rectified today, my dear readers. Feast your ears on what may be the origin jam of the whole funk movement. But even if it isn’t, it certainly is a foundational song in the genre. While I’ve read that Brown’s “Papa’s Got A Brand New Bag” deserves mention as the ground zero of funk, this is the song to me that is funk’s jumping off point.

I give you…”Cold Sweat.” All seven and a half funky minutes worth.

If I have an issue with James Brown in regards to Funky Friday, it’s that it could end up as James Brown Friday. I could post songs by him for weeks on end. He was the pioneer, the originator and the music’s first innovator. He changed the game. Records like the aforementioned “Papa’s Got A Brand New Bag” (though a lot of the basic structure of that song can be found on his earlier single “Out Of Sight”) and this one are two of the genre’s earliest examples.

Where do I begin? You could call it simplistic, since it doesn’t go very far. Only one real move and that’s to get to the bridge. But…that groove though. Clyde Stubblefield getting a drum solo, as James yells to “give the drummer some.” Maceo Parker with a saxophone solo, implored by Brown to “put it where it’s at now.” Brown telling Bernard Odum to play with Stubblefield on the drum break. Seemingly every grunt, shriek, and made up lyric fits right into that funky pocket. By the end, Brown is so overtaken by the funk, he can’t stop singing (ok, if that’s what he calls it; I call it the beginning of the end of his singing voice). Of course, as hit record after hit record would show after this, singing was not what Brown was really interested in. He was more interested in using every element, even his voice, in a percussive fashion on his songs. Every part proved to be a piece of the whole, and that whole was in service to his funky grooves.

“Cold Sweat.” An important song, not only in Brown’s catalogue of hits, but in the creation of funk as well. Enjoy the groove, and thanks for listening and reading. I hope you have a great weekend also!

16 Replies to “Funky Friday: Cold Sweat”

    1. I was saving him for the right moment! Yeah, that’s my story and I’m sticking with it.

      Seriously, you knew he was coming. He HAD to show up. Much of what funk is derived from what he started. I truly believe everything he was doing served his vision of funk. I joke about his singing or made up lyrics, but he knew what he was doing!

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Hahaha! Well, it sure as hell worked, whether planned or by accident. I always envisioned him just being taken over by the groove and sorta speaking in tongues. Like he was just overcome by the gods of Funk, and whatever came out came out. πŸ˜ƒ

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Twin! I knew you were waiting for the right moment! You knew you couldn’t go too long before either Tessa or I would call you out for NOT highlighting our homeboy!
    Augusta GA is in the house!
    There is not funk without James! He is the progenitor of the whole concept!
    “The one!”
    Whaaaaaaaaaaa
    James caught hell trying to get classically training musicians to follow his unconventional way of doing the damn thang!
    RIP Godfather!
    Still doing it!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Of course you did!!!!
        I’d expect nothing less!
        I love the way you narrated his call-outs in the song. That’s something that a lot of people don’t pay attention to.
        Those call-outs are such a James thing to do and real fans live for it πŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I know like hell it won’t be the last JB song. How can anyone run a respectable series on funk and only talk about JB ONCE! LOL!!!
        He’s a “Funk” series all by himself πŸ™‚
        I know you got plenty more where that came from Twin πŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

    1. I think it’s the momentum the song builds throughout that gives you that train-type feeling, Joan. I joke about his yowling, screeching, and wailing, but it’s all to serve a purpose. And his horn sections were always razor sharp.

      Liked by 1 person

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