James Brown's “Superbad” and the double-voiced utterance

David Brackett

in Interpreting Popular Music

Published by University of California Press

Published in print October 2000 | ISBN: 9780520225411
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520925700 | DOI:
James Brown's “Superbad” and the double-voiced utterance

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This chapter explores the discursive space in which the concepts of “blackness” and African American music have been produced and analyzes how these concepts function in James Brown's 1970 recording Superbad. It examines African American music as a historical discourse based on anecdotal accounts and surviving musical practices, which are seen as implying a layer of transhistorical musical features. It summarizes some aspects of the discourses that have circulated about African-American music, including those on the status of the black community and its relationship with the white community, on musical aesthetics, on the impact of ethnicity on aesthetics, and on the impact of community on reception.

Keywords: blackness; African American music; James Brown; Superbad; musical practices; white community; musical aesthetics

Chapter.  15983 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: American Music

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