To those leaders around the globe … Know that your people will judge you on what you build, Not what you destroy
— President Barack Obama First Inaugural Address
Don’t Shoot. b/ Little Axe “Finger On The Trigger”
Funky Obama b/ TACK>>HEAD (2009)
Keith Leblanc “King of the Beat”
STORY OF A SONG— Tack>>Head drummer, Keith Leblanc, was in possession of the digital file (song) the band was making for a new record. “Funky Obama” was a cover of James Brown’s “Funky President,” on his 1974 album, Reality.
The song, after the election of Barack Obama, had a more personal impact on Keith, Hip-Hop music’s “King Of The Beat.”
Going back 25 years, Keith was the drummer in the Original Sugar Hill Rhythm Section, with Skip McDonald (guitar) and Doug Wimbish (bass) …
Malcolm X “No Sell Out” b/ Keith Leblanc
Dramatic changes had come to Sugar Hill records in 1984, after Keith, Skip, and Doug had taken their opportunity to play, write, and produce the music that became Artists United Against Apartheid, and the Miami Vice Soundtrack.
Sugar Hill Records owner, Joe Robinson demanded “his” cut of the money, made
Reviewed in the United States on August 11, 2015
John H. McCarthy
REALITY (December 19, 1974) #5 R&B and #56 Pop. preceded by HELL followed by SEX MACHINE TODAY . After four double-gatefold albums Polydor must’ve had enough, it came in a single jacket, albeit with great cover art. James didn’t release another double until 1980’s live HOT ON THE ONE and would never release another double of studio recordings the rest of his career. According to the record labels, The Godfather Of Soul has graduated to the Minister Of New New Super Heavy Funk. REALITY splits Brown’s camp into two factions, those who hate it’s reliance on studio cats and it’s speed-ed up sound (James had a turntable that ran too fast, early pressing sounded slow to him so he had them sped up), and those who dig the precedent music and think David Sanborn blows Maceo out of the water. Say it ain’t so! In reality (sorry) both camps got it right, it does sound awfully chipper for a James Brown joint, and sorry, Sanborn is great but Maceo’s tops, but James was right on in his tales of inflation, depression and recession, and predicted a brand new funky president to boot. “Don’t Fence Me In” and “The Twist” show his genius at funkin’ up ANY song, and no one can put across a ballad such a “Who Can I Turn To”…no one. The only misstep here is his remake of Bobby ‘Blue’ Bland’s ” Further On Up The Road ,” which doesn’t match the slinky intensity of the unreleased J.B.’s version on MESSING WITH THE BLUES from only a year earlier. No matter, REALITY is an underrated release like ’72’s THERE IT IS , an essential purchase for the James Brown fan, and will impress non-believers as well……
About the Author
A Florida Journalist, Photographer, and Art Director with an eclectic client list of individuals and organizations with musical, visual, educational, and editorial interests.