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Thursday, August 4, 2016

James Brown and the Famous Flames - "I Can't Stand Myself (When You Touch Me)" / "There Was A Time" 45 rpm Single



The first time I heard this song, wasn't the original, but The Contortions "No New York" version.  I couldn't believe the minimal aspect of the song - and the tight groove that if unwounded would clearly be an act of murder.  I then heard the original when I purchased the 45 rpm of this song, backed by "here Was A Time."   I have heard the I-Tunes version but I strongly suggest the vinyl version, because you can feel the song being contained in the physical grooves.  The song to me is about being contained is some space.  And believe me, it's not a healthy landscape.  I never heard a song that is so alienating and so strongly, one gets the feeling that your back is towards the wall.  "You can't stand your love."  

"There Was a Time," is the ultimate dance song.  The band is hot. James is hot.  I'm not sure, but I suspect that this recording is live - due to either audience yelling out encouragement, or the band itself.  Nevertheless, the beauty of James Brown is that there is a sense of time being destroyed - or at the very least, you're placed in Planet James Brown - which is a world that has its own logic.  And it's not exactly a planet of joy.  It has its darkness and therefore "I Can't Stand Myself," which to me, pretty much describes the human condition in the 21st century.