Chancellor of Soul's Chronicles-Journals Dedicated To The
Historical Preservation Of R&B, Pop and It's Artists and Music



Cold Sweat

 (The Evolution of Funk Music)


Music was a dominant force in breaking down the walls

of a cemented society in Black America. James Brown

became the ball and chain of that invisible structure. He

was the nerve center streaming through the bloodlines of our musical vessel, circulating a fluid, that breeded life into our inner spirits, a fluid called ‘soul’.



‘Cold Sweat’ with the help of James’ new bandleader and tenor sax player, Alfred  'Pee Wee' Ellis would go on to become one of the most influential songs of all time.


While on tour in 1967, James one day called Pee Wee to

his dressing room after a gig and grunted a rhythm and

baseline to him. Pee Wee outlined the rhythm on a piece

of paper and created a graphic so he could later translate.


‘Cold Sweat’ was a reworked version of a slow blues tune called  'Don't Care' from a 1962 LP entitled, ‘James Brown and the Famous Flames Tour The  U.S.A.’ The horn lines were dubbed from Miles Davis' classic recording of  'So What' from his masterpiece LP ‘Kind Of Blue’. The album featured such jazz greats as John Coltrane, Bill Evans and Julian ‘Cannonball’ Adderley.


The eve of the funk evolution took place at the King Studios in Cincinnati, in May 1967. The session players were Waymond Reed, Joe Dupars on trumpets, Levi Rasbury on valve trumpet, Eldee Williams on tenor sax, St. Clair Pinckney on baritone sax, Bernard Odum on Bass and Jimmy Nolan (inventor of guitar scratching) and Alphonso ‘Country’ Kellum on guitars. Fresh out of the armed services, Maceo Parker was assigned to play a tenor sax solo under the commanding orders of JB.


The genesis of a new syncopated rhythm was introduced

by Clyde Stubblefield, making his debut as one of two

of James Brown’s drummers, the other being John ‘Jabo’

Starks. Their rhythm patterns would inspired a new generation of futuristic drummers in the R&B field.


‘Cold Sweat’ hit No 1 on the R&B singles chart the week ending  Sat Sept 9, 1967, for three weeks. A self-titled LP  'Cold Sweat' charted at No 5 (Sept 30) on the R&B LP charts featuring the full-length version. James would introduce ‘Cold Sweat’ for the first time on his historical performance at the Apollo Theater in Harlem, June 16-25 1967. The single was released the same week of his appearance there.  


‘Cold Sweat was as revolutionary as Rap Brown in 1967. With the experimentation of jazz, blues and R&B, it evolved into a powerful musical stank substance called ‘funk’.


The baton of ‘funk’ has been passed to many generations of funkateers like Sly & The Family Stone, Parliament/Funkadelic, Graham Central Station, Bootsy’s Rubber Band, Ohio Players, Con-Funk-Shun, Sun, Chocolate Milk, Nite-Liters, Love, Peace & Happiness, New Birth, the Meters, the Commodores, Pleasure, B. T. Express, Bar-Kays and Average White Band, just to name a few.


‘Cold Sweat’ was the evolution of ‘funk’ music. Its legacy brought on a transformation of other styles in the R&B community throughout the early 1970’s and 80’s, disco, disco-funk and new energetic youthful music evolving from the Bronx that’s now a world phenomenon called  'hip-hop'.



Many thanks to James Brown and Pee Wee Ellis for

their contribution of a funky composition that‘s become

one of the most innovative songs in music history.



              Peaceful Journey, Godfather.




                         Soulfully Yours,

                           Mike Boone

                     (Chancellor of Soul)



                          March 2007



Materials should not be used or altered without expressed permission of the author, Mike Boone

(Chancellor of Soul)






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