Wednesday, June 20, 2012

40 Year Itch: James Brown There It Is


Jam packed with hot funk, There It Is , released in June of 1972, offers listeners four hits: "There It Is", "I'm a Greedy Man" ( with a chant every parent of a school kid should know: Now brother don't leave/your homework undone") and the funkiest of them all the #1 R and B hit "Talkin' Loud and Sayin' Nothing" ( at the 5:28 mark the band stops while James Brown and Bobby Byrd rap the rhythm with interchanging "Keep On Singin'"s).

 And then there is "King Heroin".

The Godfather of Soul sets aside the funk for a few minutes to rap brother to brother and brother and sister about the evils of one of the most deadly killers in our country: heroin.

I can make a man forsake his country and flag
Make a girl sell her body for a five-dollar bag
Some think my adventure's a joy and a thrill
But I'll put a gun in your hand and make you kill

This lyrics are credited to Manny Rosen, who --according to Wikipedia--worked at The Stage Delicatessan on Manhattan's Seventh Avenue, and had lost his daughter to a drug overdose. That appears to be the true story even though Jet Magazine reported that "Manny Rosen" was a pseudonym for impressionist George Kirby who had seen the insides of a prison after dealing heroin to an undercover cop in Las Vegas.

  Whatever the circumstances, the lyrics deliver a haunting message that, as a single, managed to hit the Top 40 in 1972.


  1. James Brown is the best and he knows how to make some funky songs.

  2. Manny Rosen did indeed write King Heroin. He was a dear friend.