Monday, 5 April 2010

The Garrincha of soul

Having finished the chapter on The Godfather of Soul in Peter Guralnik's Sweet Soul Music, I went in search of James Brown clips. Here's one I found pretty useful actually. I'm up to about 25 seconds in - another month and I should have mastered the lot:

JB was a talented sportsman: baseball was his game. He could have had a shot at being a professional but, according to Guralnik, he had to give it up because of injury (what injury could have possibly prevented him from playing baseball but allowed him to dance night after night like he did?).

Physically JB reminds me a lot of Garrincha (below). I bet he would have been one hell of an inside right / right winger. Tell me, when you see Garrincha's shimmies and shuffles, you're not now seeing JB? Fast feet, swinging hips. We've seen samba football - I guess soul football is a bit of an historical what-if.

Anyway, back to JB. Wow:


dearieme said...

I gather that Ryan Giggs was a fine fly-half when he was a boy. What a waste that he found soccer more remunerative and less painful.

Gadjo Dilo said...

Wow, indeed! I once destroyed my knees by falling onto my them like James Brown does, at a party, forgetting the floor was concrete. I was very very drunk. 6 years on, the knees have just about recovered.

The Brazilians I've known often placed Garrincha higher than Pele, and made a point of saying that he one leg considerably shorter than the other, and (if pressed) that he did indeed lose his virginity to a goat.

Gaw said...

Dearieme: I know someone who was at school with Giggs's Dad. He played for Cardiff and went north to play league, to the North-West. That accounts for the Manchester link. Giggs playing rugby was probably quite a close-run thing.

Gadjo: Apparently JB had thick callouses on his knees. You should have done it night after night for a couple of months and it all would have worked out!

I remember seeing a documentary on Garrincha - his life certainly was quite a ride, good and bad.