Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Mashed Potatoes

Years ago Matt K lent me James Brown's autobiography The Godfather of Soul. It was pretty hilarious. No-one has ever given himself more self-important nicknames since perhaps Mussolini. Minister of New New Super Heavy Funk, The Original Disco Man, Soul Brother Number One, Mr. Dynamite and The Hardest Working Man in Show Business. According to himself he invented soul, disco, funk and rap. My favourite line is from a story about bandits making off with the box office takings at one of his shows. From the stage James saw someone with a gun menacing the front-of-house guy. Without stopping the show, he danced over to his bandleader Bobby Byrd to tell him to play something slow, and then saved the day in some way I can't recall. The dance was called the "mashed potatoes".
"So I mashed potatoes over to Bobby..."
According to Wikipedia:
The dance begins by stepping backward with one foot with that heel tilted inward. The foot is positioned slightly behind the other (stationary) foot. With the weight on the ball of the starting foot, the heel is then swiveled outward. The same process is repeated with the other foot: step back and behind with heel inward, pivot heel out, and so on. The pattern is continued for as many repetitions as desired. The step may be incorporated in various dances either as a separate routine or as a styling of standard steps.
Try it!


Matthew.Kirkcaldie said...

Now c'mon Chris, it is a brave man who describes the life of the Minister of the New New Super Heavy Funk as "hilarious". It was about that time that I invented soul music, although people didn't start calling it that until later.
MIND YOU in all seriousness, Brown was the performer that all the recent eulogies seem to wish that Michael Jackson was. Brilliant dancer, great pop writer, but not a patch on the raw invention and groundbreaking leaps made by JB.

chris.dadness said...

JB was so normal compared to MJ. But then there's deep sea fauna living in the sulphurous belchings of black smokers that is normal compared to MJ.