Can we please have a moment of silence . . .
For James Brown's sideman and Famous Flames co-founder Bobby Byrd (1934-2007).
The legendary crooner died Wednesday of cancer at his home in Loganville, Ga. He was 73.
Byrd met James at a Georgia youth detention facility and recruited him for his gospel group the Avons. That outfit would later morph into the Flames, with James as lead singer. "He was the voice of reason in that camp," said James' former tour manager Alan Leeds, who befriended Byrd in 1964. "[He] had the respect of everybody [in the band], of the veteran musicians and of the young guys."
Bobby's voice can be heard on such classic James hits as "I Know You Got Soul" and "Get Up (I Feel Like Being A) Sex Machine." Both songs and other tunes were sampled heavily by such rap artists as Eric B. & Rakim, Public Enemy, Ice Cube and many others. He is survived by his wife, Vickie Anderson, and family.
Just Blaze sampled Bobby's song "I'm Not to Blame" on the Jay-Z track "U Don't Know" (from the Blueprint LP). The studio maverick offers his touching story behind the sample, in which the royalites helped Byrd and his family avoid foreclosure on their home.
Hip-hop historian Oliver Wang shows us what we already know . . . Bobby Had Maaad Soul.
Rest In Soul Power, Bobby . . .