I am very happy to know that I possess the Petey Greene, Jerry Washington, Gaston Neal, Nap Turner, Jamal Muhammad, James Brown, Chuck Brown-Gene.
My foot is genetically pre-disposed to pat whenever James Brown music is played. Whether I pat it or not. I’ve got the James Brown Gene.
The same for Chuck Brown who is still in our midst. He is the Grandfather-Godfather of Go-Go. One year on my birthday, I went to see Chuck Brown at the now defunct Club Ibex on Georgia Ave. For some reason, I was grateful they had a metal detector at the door. I’ve bought three or four of his CDs. I’ve got the Chuck Brown-Gene, and I’m proud of it.
It’s a Denmark Vesey, Nat Turner, John Brown, Marcus Garvey, George Jackson-kind-of-feeling expressed in haunting melody, hypnotic rhythm. It’s the James Brown-Gene.
Petey Greene was that kind of a guy. They recently made a movie about him, the icon, the live and kicking D.C. Will Rogers. The movie: One Flew Over. Dewey’s Big Break! Ma, he was a M-F contender. Write that down. Original Rapper. With the schoolyard ‘Yo Mama’ training.
Jerry Washington was The Bama. They ought to make a movie about him. The Bama looked up to Petey Greene. The Bama said, when he went to work at the United Planning Organization (UPO), Petey taught him the most important lesson he was to ever learn about being a community organizer: “If you leave the office before 5 o’clock, be sure to take your briefcase with you.”
Petey came up from The School of Hard Knocks. The Bama came through the Army by way of Morehouse College. He was “Sarge The Bartender,” and well known and highly regarded.
What it is that we love about all of them is that little hint of larceny we detect in their voices. We love it. Lie to me Wash. By the time you get to Phoenix it won’t matter.
These men are like the “soul” of Soul. Put on Your High Heel Sneakers, Tommy Tucker. Petey Greene, The Bama, Gaston Neal, Nap Turner, Jamal Muhammad, James Brown, Chuck Brown have all got this kind of “High John The Conquer-oo” thing-happening. Can you dig it?
The thing is, they are not talking loud and saying nothing. These Cats are really saying something, even with that larceny we detected in their hearts.
Petey Greene said: “I’d rather say, ‘I be rich,’ than say, ‘I am poor,'” as a dig at the pompous intellectuals in our midst.
The Bama said that he could tolerate being told any number of different things, “But don’t say I’m broke, and be right.” same subject.
John Lee Hooker’s Daddy told his Mama: “Let that Boy Boogie-Woogie. It’s in him. It’s got to come out.” It’s the Boogie Woogie-Gene. It’s passed through the water and the air.
Some who’ve gotten it, get their props—Chuck, J.B., Petey, Nap Turner. Some don’t. Gaston Neal was the most important un-published poet in America at one time. Jerry Washington, never had a national show—well one little NPR Satellite Program Development Fund grant for a series that was never really “him.”
But I heard him at the Barbershop. And he wasn’t all just talking about sports all the time. I heard him at the Barbershop. You ought to listen to him yourself sometime.