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Monday, May 3, 2010

It's a Man's World: The King James Version with the NeoApocraphal Etta

Today would have been James Brown's 77th Birthday, had the world not lost him in 2006. The Godfather of Soul, "Soul Brother Number One," Mr. Dynamite, The Hardest Working Man in Show Business - James Brown was an original force of nature, not entirely without a destructive side, who changed music and culture. Who remembers how Vice President Hubert Humphrey ceremoniously thanked James Brown for his April 4th, 1968 television appearance following the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. pleading for calm in the wake of what the nation feared would be race riots (which, in fact, did not take place - in no small part due to James Brown. Maybe he was the Bono of his day, maybe Bono is a Proto, or pro-Bono ... I don't know, Bono is another day and today it's The King James Version starting with James Brown at 6pm - The King of Soul!

James Taylor is another kind of royalty - the original Southern Rock Aristocrat, ex-husband of Carly Simon and father of Ben and Sally, Taylor remains the quintessential Singer/Songwriter who survived his own youthful flirtation with self-destruction and continues to tour and perform today at full strength.
James Blunt - well, to be blunt, we're going to have to wait several decades to find out if this talented young Emo-Singer/Songwriter can get over his own hormonal haze and turn out a body of work that lasts a lifetime. We're hoping so. He's got promise, potential, pipes and passion - a prince amongst the James Set.
 Which brings us to the Princess - Miss Etta James. Girl, you know something about bringing body and soul together and all the other Jamses should take a seat while Etta unwinds her voice like a coiling cascade of cool burning lava ice ... 
The James Gang - Brown, Taylor, Blunt & Etta set starts tonight at 6pm - ready or not, here they come!

And just for good measure - maybe after that we'll hear some Jim Morrison.

At 5:30pm we'll hear Rabbi Sholom Brodt's new piece on "Ahavtah Lreacha Kamocha" repeating again at 11pm.
On the Omer Calendar we're really hauling up to Shavuos now. Today is Yesod She'bHod and tonight after dark we count 35 Days of the Omer which will be Malchut She'bHod. It was on this day (20 Iyar) that the Children of Israel left Mt. Sinai and began their trek through the desert.

It's like, for us, a Tachlis tiyule - we're following the Mishkan and we don't know what the next step will be - but we keep putting one foot in front of the other. If we occasionally trip, that's life

as a Jew. "A righteous man falls down seven times..." Let's try not to skin our knees too much, shall we? We want to make it all the way to Shavuos without any unnecessary injuries! We've got a lot of heavy lifting to do in the weeks ahead - but it's there in sight. Let's get there together.