Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Lee Austin Rules His House

Lee Austin - I'm a Man

"The Mighty Burner," Leon (Lee) Austin, was one of the lesser-known members of the James Brown family. I read somewhere that Austin was an ex-con who Brown hired as a bodyguard. Having seen Austin on a videotape of "James Brown's Future Shock," I can believe it, as Austin had that "big brute" look about him. Austin had a high, countryfied tenor that graced a smattering of James Brown productions on King, Polydor, People and I-Dentify.

"I'm a Man" came from 1974, and features a very catchy horn chart over a fairly hard-hitting background. The James Brown-penned tune features Brown's usual macho lyrics, although some of them are a little out there ("you can be Donald Duck / But I ain't no Mickey Mouse"?) The tune also features a nice breakdown in the middle and, in what must've been a fetish for JB at the time, liberal use of the "Sproing!" sound effect. As tasty as the track is, it was commercially unsuccessful (as were all of Austin's 45s), but it is a great addition to the James Brown discography. (According to the "Future Shock" videos I've seen, Brown also released the instrumental track of the song as a J.B.'s tune under the name "Man Power".)

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