This blog’s first post is a tip of the hat to my hometown, Cincinnati, and the record label that recorded the rhythm & blues and hillbilly bop that helped give birth to rock and roll, King Records.
In 1965 King’s most famous and influential artist, James Brown (along with The Famous Flames) ushered in the new funk with the landmark 45, “Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag.” That same year Steve McQueen starred as The Cincinnati Kid, a professional gambler in 1930s New Orleans, who challenges the reigning poker champ to a big match in a film that featured music composed by Ray Charles.
The following year saw the release of a tune also bearing the title, “Cincinnati Kid,” but musically and lyrically being something else altogether. Instead Prince Buster, one of the leading lights of the Jamaican rocksteady sound, slyly calls out praise and respect to the “real” Cincinnati Kid – James Brown – (without actually naming him) in a particularly funky track for 1966 that clearly shows the influence of the new sound being laid down in a recording studio on Brewster Avenue (that still stands) in the Evanston neighborhood of Cincinnati across I-71 from my old high school. The Cincinnati-Kingston connection. There you have it – listen for yourself: