james brown & full force

The Godfather of Soul, James Brown, and Full Force

*Bowlegged Lou here. Happy Holidays to all! Happy Celebration of Life Day to James Brown up in Heaven As He Passed Away on Christmas Day, 2006.

As Full Force will be celebrating our 30 years in the recording industry in 2014, there is a rumor that we will be coming out with a brand new all-star music project in the SUMMER of 2014 which will also feature over 30 true skool music artists (Where do these rumors start??  Oh well.)

BUT COMING THIS SPRING OF MARCH/APRIL 2014 which is NOT a rumor will be THE RE-RELEASE OF JAMES BROWN’S Top 20 R&B album entitled I’M Real on FunkyTown Grooves Records Via Sony Records which will include lots of extra’s, the bonus 12 inch remixes, an unreleased cut or two, surprise goodies, special booklet, a special Re-Release party in NYC celebrating Mr. Brown’s Last Top 20 R&B Album and of course included on that album is Mr. Brown’s last two Top 5 R&B recordings in his career, “I’m Real” (#2) and “Static” (#5) proudly produced by yours truly, Full Force.

All of us love u Godfather. Keep resting in paradise. As you would say, “GOOD GOD !!!!” (And yes, God is good all the time.) This past Christmas day & beyond you better believe, Mr. Brown is in heaven singing songs from his own Christmas album. Such songs like “Soulful Christmas,” “Santa Clause Go Straight To The Ghetto” & his now true to life song for himself, “Christmas In Heaven.”

Ahhhh those great memories of our time with Mr. Brown. James Brown died on Christmas day, so I reflect a lot about him during the holidays & also on his birthday.  I remember reading a nice story in Billboard Magazine written by music journalist Havelock Nelson many years ago. Excuse me as I reflect. (Oh yeah, scroll down to check the great pics below.)

The legendary original hip hop vocal band known as Full Force had the pleasure of knowing Mr. Brown and working in the studio with him in 1988-1989 while producing an entire album on him entitled “I’m Real.” They remained good friends up until his passing. Mr. Brown had a most pronounced influence in the world of Hip Hop. R&B. Soul, Funk, Pop, Jazz, etc. But it was Mr Brown’s hit records that were being sampled by all the rappers and hip hoppers back in the day.  It wasn’t till The Godfather Of Soul got together with the original hip hop vocal band known as Full Force that Mr. Brown got even more acknowledged with the sampling of his music by others. Lots of hip hop artists were using his voice, beats and music from all his classics and putting them on their own recordings without his permission.

On the Full Force produced 1st single” I’m Real” (#2 on Billboard’s R&B single charts) it opens up with the Godfather Of Soul shouting….”All u copycats out ther, get off of my tip, cause I’m James Brown with the Force, and i’m not taking no lip.” Another lyric in the song that he sang went like this….”All you people that think u got pull, you better take my voice off of your records, till I’m paid in full.  Though Mr. Brown recorded 1 song with Afrikka Bambatta some years before entitled “Unity”…..it never spoke about the unlawful sampling of Mr. Brown’s music and that’s maybe because it wasn’t as prevalent as it was until the later years when Full Force linked up with him.

Mr. Quest Love (the talented drummer from the hiphop band The Roots) gave Full Force some respected props when Mr. Brown passed away & gave his thanks for what they’ve done in the hip hop community and told them how much he loved their work on the James Brown album. Full Force had 2 to 3 months of great times with Mr. Brown in the studio.  From him dancing in the studio while recording songs together, from him always having his assistant comb his hair at the end of every session…It was a 10 minute hair combing ritual as the Force used to just look in amazement.

From Mr. Brown telling them all his stories,such as he was the original rapper & he hated that the rappers were using his music and voice on their records without paying him but later on loved it, just as long as he was getting paid.(Mr. Brown once made Full Force listen to one of his biggest hits….the influential, bold, courageous and ground-breaking #1 R&B song entitled “Say it loud, I’m black and I’m proud” in the studio. He said as they were listening to it….”ya’ll listening? “u hear me rappin’ in that song??” “All the lyrics I’m saying are being rapped by who???” “By me, that’s who.” I’m the original rapper) Or him telling Full Force that it was because of him that hotels became popular…or like when he did an unexpected James Brown full extended split while he and The Force were taking photographs in the studio for about a hundred news people and photographers & being that the photographers were not ready when Mr. Brown did that split, they asked him to do the split again & he refused by saying “Sorry but u should of caught the photo when I did it.” Or  like the time Rev. Al Sharpton came to studio in the middle of a session and Mr. Brown shut everything down just to talk to the Rev for about an hour and when Rev Sharpton asked him how he was doing, he replied “Rev…I’m wearing red shades but I’m seeing blue” or when Mr. Brown was balancing the side of a coco-cola bottle on a quarter or when Full Force’s engineer at the time, “Tony Maserati,” erased an important vocal by Mr. Brown on the first song recorded at the studio and for 15 minutes…an annoyed Mr. Brown kept looking at Tony asking him “Where was he from”??? Or when he told Full Force brother B-Fine that he wasn’t gonna record a song that he wrote while other Full Force members, brothers Bowlegged Lou & Paul Anthony had to run out to convince him to do it…or when he kept telling Full Force how much he loved & respected them and how he’s never let anyone produce an entire James Brown album but himself until he heard their work and wanted to work with them….or how he always told them that he loved them like musical sons…..

Those are just some of the memories that can never be forgotten. Full Force loved Mr. Brown and had sent out deepest condolences to his family and friends when he passed as well as going to Mr. Browns viewing of his body at The Apollo Theater and his funeral as well.  Full Force produced Mr. James Brown’s last two top 5 records in his career. When “Static” was heard, Full Force got so many complimentary calls & acknowledgements from Chuck D, Teddy Riley, Terry Lewis and jimmy Jam, Heavy D, Kool G. Rap, Little Richard, Big Daddy Kane, Nelson George, Russell Simmons, Eddie Murphy, L.L. Cool J, etc. Even white actor Brad Pitt stopped Full Force in a Hollywood comedy club giving the producers props for their work on that James Brown album. The “I’M REAL” album came out at a time when everybody was sampling his music and his voice without his permission but soon after all Mr. Brown’s attorneys and lawyers put a stop to that and reminded everybody just who was boss was. Finally, James Brown was getting paid from everyone who sampled him.

Though while working on that album with Mr. Brown, it was interrupted at various times because at that time he was in constant trouble with the law, from being in that in-famous cop chase, to him shooting his gun, and all kinds of distractions, but Full Force held on as well and prayed for Mr. Brown. Eddie Murphy used to tell Full Force at that time that it was their fault that James Brown was getting in trouble. (Ha Ha Not True!) Paul Anthony of Full Force said it was an honor to work with James Brown but it was also an honor to become friends with him. There will never be another James Brown. Continue to rest in peace Godfather. Long live the king!

james brown & full force1james brown & full force2

james brown & full force

Full Force and the Godfather of Soul