James Brown - Don't Tell a Lie About Me and I Won't Tell the Truth on You
Now that my $800 is back, I can go back to focusing on two of my favorite things, soul music and politics :) Today is Election Day, and the nation waits with bated breath to see whether the Democrats will regain control of the House and/or Senate. Here in Georgia we vote for governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, a House seat (which is not in my district) and other officials. For the last few weeks the candidates have, for the most part, run very negative ads against each other (the governor, enjoying the incumbent's advantage and high favor in the polls, has taken a softer approach), so today's selection came to mind.
Today's awesome-titled tune came from James' 1974 LP Hell, which would be the last major album of his discography, yielding two R&B #1 hits with "Papa Don't Take No Mess" and "My Thang." Although he was billing himself as the "Minister of the New New Heavy Funk," James' dominance in the R&B marketplace was beginning to slip in the wake of Philly soul and disco. Apart from hits like "Funky President" and the disco-informed "Bodyheat" and "It's Too Funky In Here," James' subsequent recordings would bring diminished returns until 1986's "Living In America" gave him a second wave of successes, which were scuttled by his legal problems of the late '80s and early '90s. "Don't Tell a Lie" features a very attractive stepping funk groove over which James explores the title's premise in his usual stream-of-consciousness way while the background singers work out the riff "you don't have to tell a lie." It's heavy, heavy funk indeed, and the line that rings strongest in light of today's election comes at about two minutes in: "a lie is a lie, and people can smell it, in about the time it takes to tell it."