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Don’t you hate it when James Brown’s drummer calls while you’re in the bathroom?

Last night I stumbled on a video of James Brown live in Bologna, Italy, in 1971 doing a performance of Sex Machine that, like all of his concerts of the time, is just a jaw-dropper, so I posted it on my facebook page. As usual with Brown’s performances of the time, he had two drummers that share duties.  Having been a long time fan of James Brown, especially the early 70s stuff. I’m pretty familiar with the personnel he had on stage at any given time in his career.  But in this video, I recognized John “Jabo” Starks on the left but wasn’t sure who the guy actually drumming was. So first off, here’s the video:

The comments on video suggested it was either Clyde Stubblefield or a fellow named “Tiger” Martin. I’ve certainly heard of Stubblefield but had never heard of Martin. So I did a Google search to see if there was info on this guy. I found some stuff on Wikipedia that explained he worked with James a bunch in the early years and was also a member of The Houseguests with Bootsy Collins and Phelps Collins right after they left James’s band in late ’71 (and then did some drop dead awesome hard funk on their own). I also came across an artist profile page that Mr. Martin wrote for himself that also included lots of information on his background with many artists including James Brown and as well, an email address. So what the hell, I thought, I’ll send him an email to see if he can clear up the question as to who exactly was in the video above. SO TODAY HE CALLS ME. I miss the damn call of course – AARGH – but he leaves this message:

“Yo Mike, this is Don Juan Tiger Martin, I’m calling you from Thomasville, Georgia. Yeah, that was me playing drums, that wasn’t Clyde. Clyde wasn’t even in the picture at the time. Me and Bootsy and Phelps, and uh, Chicken and Hasaan joined the band and Robert McCullugh. I’m one of the original J.B.’s and a lot of times they always mistaken stuff Clyde and me do. Clyde didn’t do drums, none of James stuff when me and Bootsy and Phelps got in the band. I did a lot of tracks with James. So that’s me. Thanks for asking bro, I really appreciate it, you know cause it always hard to get credit when they giving credit to Clyde or Jabo. That was me. Sex Machine, Popcorn, Give it up or Turn it Loose, Say it Loud, I’m Black and I’m Proud. Alright, if you want to, give me a call. Me and you can rap. Have a blessed day.”

Needless to say, made my day.

Tiger Martin, left, performing with James Brown in Italy in 1971.