Wednesday, January 3, 2007

James Brown's ski party

"Hey, are you really the ski patrol?"

In a comment on an earlier post, Jeanne Meyers recalled James Brown's brief appearance in Ski Party (1965). I found the clip on YouTube. It's a remarkable bit of Americana. Four suavely-dressed African-American men enter a ski lodge, having rescued a frozen "Mr. Pevney" from the cold. The lodge is filled with young white adults. One of them recognizes that the newcomers are not the ski patrol but "James Brown and the Flames." (That should be Famous Flames, young lady.) The expectation is that some entertainment is in the offing: "You're gonna sing for us, aren'tcha?" says another young woman, who was wondering one paragraph up whether these men were really the ski patrol.

What strikes me is not that a star is expected to entertain (hey, I want to hear him too) but that JB and company don't stay a moment longer than their performance. JB is, literally, out the door when his song ends, and the Flames are gone before that. There's no question of inviting these men in as guests, to sit, warm up, have some cocoa. There's no time for JB and the Famous Flames even to pick up their coats (or JB's skis). They save a life; they sing and dance; and they disappear into the cold. At least they're wearing ski sweaters.

And let the record show that not even a ski sweater could stop James Brown from being James Brown.

There were many links to YouTube for James Brown last week, but this clip (posted on December 27) seems to be overlooked, with only 300-odd views. (The picture is a digital mess at the start, but the sound and image otherwise are far better than in the other copy of this clip on YouTube.)

James Brown sings "I Got You (I Feel Good)" and immediately leaves the premises (YouTube)

comments: 1

Anonymous said...

Even Elvis didn't have moves like that.....the way James Brown moves his feet is spectacular! What is on the bottoms of his shoes?