Miss Vicki Anderson
“Listen – If You Don’t Give Me What I Want (I Gotta Get It Some Other Place) MP3″
This week (as week the last) concludes with an early, Thursday post as I’ve taken another Friday off to attend to family bid-ness, so you get to soak up the funk a day early.
Keep your dial set to the Funky16Corners blog, because Monday will see the arrival of another installment of Funky16Corners Radio, and it’s a good one this time. I won’t tell you exactly what’s coming, other than it will include another funky side by today’s artist, as well as a whole lot of other grooves, so you should come to work on Monday ready to boogie, as well as suck up some more of your bosses bandwidth (he wasn’t using it anyway).
That said, as the lack of enthusiasm for Monday’s post – in which I dropped what I consider to be a heater by Miss Tammi Terrell – may or may not indicate that some or all of you didn’t think that it was as funky as I did. This of course brings us into the semantic wonderland in which anoraks like myself sit around and debate the definitions of “funk”, creating all manner of hyphenates with the quasi’s and the proto’s and all that mess. I mean, some records, the ones that knock you on your ass from the proverbial git go, are undisputably “funk”, whether by actual sound, provenance (i.e. an item picked from the catalogue of an artist that is generally thought of as “funk”) or a combination of the two. There are also date considerations in which each collector/enthusiast/funky academic refers back to their own personally constructed timeline, placing a given record either before, after or right on top of the dividing line between soul and funk.
As I said, this dividing line tends to move depending on who’s drawing it and what their personal taste/knowledge dictates as “funk”. This is where the hyphenates come in. Is a record funk or proto-funk (in which elements of out and out funk start to poke through on a record otherwise considered of the pre-funk, soul music tradition), or just funk-y?
My personal placement of the funk line (or strata if you will, borrowing an image from the geology heads) starts appearing right around James Brown’s ‘Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag’ in 1965 and comes into full bloom with the release of ‘Cold Sweat’ in 1967 (exploding into full view with JB’s cry to ‘Give the drummer some”, and the ensuing break).
While there are certainly other records in that time period (and arguably even before that) that might fit the definition, you’d be hard pressed to show me one that isn’t in some way influenced by James Brown’s funky revolution.
In the end, while most sane people couldn’t give a shit, there are those – myself included – that would debate this subject until we collapsed from exhaustion.
Today’s selection, a ripe, delicious number out of the James Brown and related basket is one of those “grey area” records. I would certainly classify it as funk, but I would also admit that it could be considered a transitional side. Date-wise it’s right in there with ‘Cold Sweat’ (falling one catalogue number prior to that landmark side), and provenance-wise it bears not only the mark of James Brown, but also one of the most powerful weapons in his touring/recording arsenal, the voice of Myra Barnes, aka Momie-O, aka Vicki Anderson.
That record – If You Don’t Give Me What I Want (I Gotta Get It Some Other Place) – is, at least in my opinion one of the finest sides in the James Brown – associated discography. Anderson was, like fellow James Brown Show star Marva Whitney, possessed of a mighty instrument, trained in gospel but fully given over to the devils music. Taking a voice that powerful, and laying it on top of one of the tightest, grooving-est bands in the land was nothing if not a deadly combination.
The opening of the record sounds like someone trying to start a giant motor. Anderson’s cries of “BABY!” over the guitar/bass/conga combo soon explode into the full force of the band, which rolls along like a funky tank. The lyrics, a wronged lovers manifesto, are particularly ironic in the context of Brown’s treatment (especially financially) of the female artists in his stable, namely the charge that they were rarely compensated for their recording work, with Brown accused of often taking credit for songs that the women either wrote or helped to write (shame on you, Godfather…).
My fave parts of the record, aside from Anderson’s monumental vocal, are the multiple guitar interplay, and the strange, out of phase male backing vocals in the chorus. This is not to overlook the hammering drums, which sound as if Clyde and Jabo snuck and pushed them up in the mix after James had retired for the evening.
No matter how you slice it, this is a powerful performance by all involved and spun on the turntable at your next ripple and potato chip party ought to make getting the dancers moving all easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy, if you knowwhatImean….
So, follow these instructions:
1. Right-click on link
2. Download track
3. Play track
5. Wait until Monday for further instructions.
See you then.