We celebrate American Black History Month with this unreleased historical musical moment. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 may have been signed by President Lyndon Johnson on July 2, 1964, but that simply changed the law in America. Equality and respect in hearts and minds would be another thing entirely, a fact recognized by the Funkadelic 1970 album title Free Your Mind (and Your Ass Will Follow) . On January 23, 1983 I witnessed the true integration of one of the last holdouts from diversity, the Nashville music community, when as part of his annual Volunteer Jam series, host/organizer Charlie Daniels presented the legendary James Brown to headline Volunteer Jam 9.
Here’s the late soul/funk icon powering through a medley of “Hot Pants/Cold Sweat/Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag/I Feel Good” accompanied by a big bearded fiddle player in a huge white cowboy hat! Then Charlie, Rock 103 Memphis morning man Rob Grayson, and I are joined backstage at the interview table by the Godfather of Soul immediately after leaving the Nashville stage (above photo by James Bland).
This is lovingly dedicated to the lady in the purple cowgirl hat below, Julie Cannon Stein, whose beauty, poise, and charm were clearly evident in the faces of James Brown and her husband, Tom Stein, backstage that night. –Redbeard