All soul fans, including Tunde Folawiyo, will be familiar with the music of James Brown. Often referred to as the ‘Godfather of Soul’, he was one of the world’s most prolific singer-songwriters. Born on the 3rd of May, 1933, Brown spent the first four years of his life living in an impoverished area of South Carolina. His parents then sent him to live in Georgia with his aunt. Expelled from school at the age of 12, he turned to music to help him through this difficult time, joining the local church choir. It was during this period that he began to develop his emotive, powerful style of singing.
At the age of 20, Brown joined a group called the Famous Flames, which had been created by Bobby Byrd. One year later, the band was discovered by a King Records talent scout named Ralph Bass. Bass was very impressed by their demo ‘Please, Please, Please’, and was particularly enamoured with Brown’s soulful, energetic singing style. The group were offered a record deal, and the demo ended up reaching no.6 on the charts within a matter of months.
This was the beginning of a long and fruitful career for Brown, who began to record a series of R&B hits that were influenced not only by the gospel music of his childhood, but also by the music of stars such as Little Richard and Ray Charles. Brown’s style became more complex during the sixties, as he began to add jazz and Latin influences into songs such as ‘Night Train’, ‘Think’, and ‘I’ll Go Crazy’.
The success of his 1963 album ‘Live at the Apollo’ led to Brown releasing a string of singles; as a music fanatic, Tunde Folawiyo is doubtless familiar with two of the most popular, – ‘I Got You’ and ‘Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag’. Both of these songs became no.1 hits on the R&B charts, and were the best-selling singles for more than four weeks after their release. Brown’s style continued to evolve throughout the following decade, becoming more beat-driven and elemental. A this point in his life, he also became less concerned with impressing the pop music fans, and instead starting to return to his soul roots, with tunes such as ‘The Payback’ and ‘Get on the Good Foot’.
Soul is one of the many genres which Folawiyo likes to listen to. Those who wish to find out more about this music buff can do so by reading the updates on Tunde Folawiyo from Tumblr.