Summer 1965, was long, hot and incendiary, as a string
of political assassinations and the war in Vietnam set off flash point
riots in black ghettos across America. Including Rochester, New
York, where the Dowbrigade was a skinny and insufferably precocious
12-year-old who was heavy into soul music.
What possessed me to buy tickets to a soon to be out James Brown concert,
I’ll never know. My equally unorthodox classmate hairy Roger Levy (Roger
had a full beard at 12) agreed to accompany me, and as far as we could
tell, we were the only white people in that rockin’ Rochester War Memorial
Auditorium that Saturday night.
Backed by a smokin’ horn section blowing molten gold, Brown strutted
and spat, growled and groaned, and it was beyond anything we had seen
with out own eyes up to that point (although we were familiar with all
the music from records).
He worked through Get Up Offa that Thing, Hot Pants, Its a Man’s Man’s
Man’s World, Sex Machine, Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag and Super Bad. He
came out again and again for multiple encores, drenched in sweat, stinking
Finally he worked himself and the audience into a frenzy
for the grand finale, Cold Sweat. After wringing every drop of cruel
emotion from the twisted rags of his heart and soul he dashed halfway
across the stage, slid on his knees the rest of the way, and just
as he came to a shuddering stop, three nubile Nubian princesses scurried
over with a fantastic multicolored fur cape and draped it over his
hunched, quivering form.
Just as it seemed he would expire
there under the fur cape, he jumped up in the air, with a joyous shout,
and, as the band took back up the
erupting beat, ran madly about the stage in a final paroxysm of gut-wrenching
soul, and collapsed in the middle of the stage. At this point the
same three chicks rushed out with a brilliant SEQUINNED cape, and lay
it over his insensate form. This went on for quite some time.
The audience erupts ever-increasing displays of raw emotion. Then,
in a chorus of mad cheers the whole crowd surged forward. Carried
down the aisle on a wave of wild euphoria, the Dowbrigade momentarily
lost his senses and shouted out "Get him!"
To this day, 38 years later, we have no idea what possessed us to scream
such an insane and suicidal thing in a situation like that. Everyone
in the immediate area stopped rushing the stage and looked at the two
white kids. It’s a good thing the Dowbrigade was quite a bit lighter
on his feet back then, or the story would have had a different ending.
At any rate, it was with deep sadness that we saw the following photo
of our one-time idol. this shot makes the famous Nick Nolte post-release
snapshot look like a cover shot on GQ…
AIKEN, S.C. — James Brown was released from jail on a domestic violence
charge Thursday and denied accusations he pushed his wife to the floor
and threatened her with a chair.
The 70-year-old Godfather of Soul had been arrested the previous day
at the couple’s Beech Island home, and a widely circulated booking mug
showed him wearing a bathrobe with his normally coifed hair in a mess.
"The main thing is I would never hurt my wife and beat up on her
like that," Brown said after leaving the jail dressed in a red and
black pinstriped suit and a black cowboy hat. "I love her very
According to a sheriff’s report, Brown pushed 33-year-old Tomi Rae Brown
to the floor during an argument in a bedroom and threatened to kill her
while holding a chair over her.
from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution