James Brown not going anywhere

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Years ago, I wrote a weekly column for The Valdosta Daily Times. After three years, I ran out of material. Thank goodness that won't happen here.

Last week's hot topic was once again, James Brown - post-home going.

Where will he be buried? Who, besides the lawyers, will get the money? What's in the will? What did you think about Tomi Rae on the Larry King show? Were those crocodile tears? Can the Brown estate force a paternity test? Who will keep the turkey giveaway going? And so on.

That's enough to keep me from staring at the computer screen waiting for inspiration for the next few years.

WHERE WILL JAMES BROWN BE BURIED? Coliseum Authority member Richard Isdell thinks the perfect spot is at the James Brown Arena on the Seventh Street side yard where the Bradford Pear trees are. He wants to move the statue down there, too. He didn't say so, but that would secure the future of the arena that has existed under the shadow of a wrecking ball for a few years now.

Former authority member and Broad Street businesswoman Bonnie Ruben's vision is for Mr. Brown to be buried at Augusta Common and for the Kress Building, which she owns, to be turned into a Music Hall of Fame and James Brown Museum.

"We need to do something for James Brown on Broad Street because that's where he started out," she said. "It would be a wonderful tribute to him. We could put memorabilia there to document his fantastic rags-to-riches story and play his music all day."

Ms. Ruben sees "a dynamic center of activity radiating from the 800 block of Broad Street, which is the center of downtown Augusta."

She's pitched the idea to many people, she said, such as Mr. Brown's attorney Buddy Dallas and business manager David Cannon, but can't get anywhere.

She says everybody gives her the brushoff.

As for the Brown family's plan to bury him at the Beech Island property and turn it into a museum a la Graceland, Ms. Ruben is skeptical.

"If they think people are going to go to a museum in Beech Island, they are badly mistaken," she said.

WHY THERE IS NO ISLAND IN BEECH ISLAND: One theory is that it was originally Beech Highland because of a stand of Beech trees on a high bluff overlooking the Savannah River, but over the years the local yokels dropped the H, and it became Beech Island.



Dear Tomi Rae,

When you cry on TV, your tears must flow generously and coincide with your outpourings of grief.

I recommend non-waterproof mascara, so it will run down your face and make your performance more believable. All great tragediennes know this.

WHAT'S IN THE WILL? It doesn't matter. Where there's a will, there's a way - to challenge it.

WILL JAMES JR. HAVE TO PROVE HE'S REALLY A BROWN? Only if all the Brown children do, says Tomi Rae.


Charles Walker Jr. and some Coliseum Authority members want it to merge with the James Brown Music Festival to become a giant celebration on Mr. Brown's birthday May 3.

Others don't. They want no part of anything Mr. Walker is involved with after last year's controversial festival, but they don't want to say so openly for fear of creating a controversy themselves, especially in light of calls for unity from Commissioner Calvin Holland and state Rep. Wayne Howard during last week's coliseum authority meeting.

Some authority members would like to see their general manager "Flash" Gordon handle the birthday bash the way he handled the James Brown funeral service at the arena. He has contacts throughout the entertainment industry and the experience and professionalism to make it a first-class event.

Mr. Walker, meanwhile, said the controversy over last summer's fiasco was not his fault. He also said his role in this year's event would be limited to his foundation's ownership of the rights to the James Brown Music Festival.

If all sides really can work together with the involvement of the entire city as Mr. Walker suggested, this year's James Brown Festival could be, as Mr. Walker said, "Unreal."

WHO PUT THE FLASH IN FLASH GORDON? When Robert "Flash" Gordon, general manager of James Brown Arena, got out of the New York School of Announcing and Speech in 1964 eager to begin his radio career, there was just one obstacle. He couldn't get a job in radio in New York "back in the day," so he came back to Augusta.

Here, Mal Cook "The Soul Cat Who Wrote The Book" - also program director for WAGU in the basement of the Bon Air Hotel - gave him a job.

"He gave me two hours a day and about four or five hours on the weekend to get me started in radio," he said. "And Mr. Louis Solomon who was the manager asked me about the name that I had. Everybody on the radio had nicknames at that time. And I told him that as a child they called me Bobby, and I was using the name Bobby Styles, you know, like 'Styles on your dial.' He didn't seem to like that. He said, 'You don't have another name you can use?' I respected his judgment because this man had been in radio for years. I said, 'As a boy, I used to be around the house at some friends and they called me Flash.'

"He said, 'Flash. Flash. People will remember that as long as you live. Folks will remember that. That will be a big name for you.'

"And, of course, we found that to be true. I've been known throughout the industry over the years as 'Flash' Gordon."

VISITORS' VIEW: The Washington, D.C., writing team of Roy J. and Stephanie Myers attended the James Brown funeral service and offer these thoughts on Mr. Brown and Augusta:

"Augusta has the opportunity to do some bridge building in order to make the most of the legacy of James Brown."

- Roy J. Myers

"The citizens of Augusta, Ga., lost decades of benefits from the fame of James Brown. Local hostility and discrimination cost the city in revenue, a local music tourism industry and publicity from James Brown's worldwide network of fans. It will be ironic if Augusta now benefits from the fame of a man that the city was ambivalent towards. In my view, the best way Augusta can honor James Brown and make up for past hurts is to make sure that talented and perhaps overlooked young, black youth in Augusta have good education, equal opportunity and backing by local resources. There are other James Browns in the ghettos and rural countryside of Augusta - be smart Augusta - don't lose again."

- Stephanie E. Myers

HOW TO GET RICH QUICK: Buy some of Augusta's elected officials for what they're worth and sell them for what they think they're worth.

A MODEST PROPOSAL FOR SAVING THE GEORGIA GOLF HALL OF FAME: Put a Tilt-A-Whirl on the grounds and charge admission. People might actually pay to get in.

WORSE THAN GOING TO THE DENTIST: Supporters, attorneys and judges from all of the three counties in the Augusta Judicial Circuit filled the courtroom last week to watch the swearing-in of the newest Superior Court judge, David Roper.

Among the robed dignitaries were U.S. District Judge Dudley H. Bowen Jr. and Judge John Ruffin, the chief judge of the Georgia Court of Appeals, who came to town especially for the ceremony and had to drive back to Atlanta the same day.

Conspicuously absent was the man whose seat on the bench Judge Roper won: now Senior Judge William M. Fleming Jr.

Just where was he?

At the dentist's office. He said he didn't see the e-mail notice of the ceremony until that very morning - too late to change the appointment.

City Ink thanks Staff Writer Sandy Hodson for her contribution to this week's column.

Reach Sylvia Cooper at (706) 823-3228 or sylvia.cooper@augustachronicle.com.

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cajunah 01/07/07 - 09:42 am
please bury the man and let

please bury the man and let him rest in peace!

watching 01/08/07 - 11:58 am
Last year many of my family

Last year many of my family members missed the Godfather’s last performance in Augusta during the James Brown Music Festival, all because of the negative articles printed in Chronicle. I have verified they lied in every article printed about the festival. Even that guy Tony Wilson had to come clean and bust the Chronicle for pushing him up to lie on Champ Walker. What’s amazing is that James Brown referred to Champ as like Martin Luther King and stated that he had a dream to better this city and the citizen needed to get behind it. What's the problem? Is it because he owns the rights to the festival? If Champ owns it what's the problem? I can only conclude with jealousy. And what's the point of comparing Champ Walker and Tomi Rae? Now that was pathetic and down right disrespectful to him. He did the Festival last year and owns the rights, correct? So, what are they talking about? Seems as if someone needs get a life. Lastly, to the bloggers, what's your comment on the fact that the Chronicle is selling Photos, T-shirts and Coffee mugs of the funeral of James Brown? Now who's really after Mr. Brown’s Estate? When will Augusta open up their eyes?

ufome2 01/10/07 - 06:15 pm
To Bonnie Reuben: you shold

To Bonnie Reuben:
you shold have bought a car dealership like your brother Milton and not those rotten old buildings on Broad street. Not even a Princess can sell that idea.

devaughny 01/12/07 - 11:37 pm
You dont seem to be so smart

You dont seem to be so smart now Al, Jessie and Deanna. WELL WELL WELL, I tried to warn James Brown kids and the rev's. Mr. Slick Oil Saleman Dallas got control of the whole pie. I invite anybody to go back and read the piece titled "Brown gives tearful interview" dated jan 4, You will see that i predicted this and it serves them right.. Tami was never a real forcus of the snake aka Mr. Dallas, he asigned stupid Deanna, the other fools and, the rev's to keep tomi at bay while he went to the lab to make up a trust to serve everybody....They will never get enough, trusting the opposition...HOOKED WRINKED !!!!!!!!!!!!

REBELGIRL_2003 01/16/07 - 03:48 am
let the man rest in peace and

let the man rest in peace and i think that little boy should get some money to my lord he was james brown son and im sure james brown would turn over in his grave if he knew how the family was treating him and to lock that little boy out of his home on christmas shows what kinda morons we have in the world.. and the wife i feel sorry for her and to his kids yall made that mans funeral look like one big party shame on you

KLD108 01/16/07 - 10:00 am
dna's for everybody---even

dna's for everybody---even buddy! dog gone it!!!lol

gailkaitschuck 01/17/07 - 08:10 am
I'm waiting for the family to

I'm waiting for the family to take James Brown on tour.

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