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Ladies and gentlemen ... James Brown!

I recently found myself in Augusta, Ga., which, as it turns out, is the birthplace of legendary musician James Brown (pictured).

When I was in Augusta, I had lunch with Steven Uhles, an entertainment writer for the Augusta Chronicle (us journalists gotta stick together, ya know), who gave me the inside scoop on Brown.

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Back in the day, Brown used to be the man about town, seeing movies and shooting pool at local bars. But he went out less and less in his later years (he passed away in 2006).

Uhles interviewed Brown a few times, and said it would always take him a while to figure out what Brown was actually saying. It was almost like Brown had his own dialect, Uhles said.

Thankfully, Augusta recognized Brown's contribution to pop music. There's a life-sized statue of the Godfather of Soul himself smack dab in downtown Augusta. At roughly 5'6," Brown was a fairly short dude, considering. But oh my what a scream he had.

Cooler still: You can stand by the statue, call a number on your cell phone, and the security camera will take your photo with the statue and post it on this Web site. How sweet is that? ...

Unfortunately, when Uhles showed me all this, the sign had disappeared, so I couldn't take advantage of it. I did get this shot of the Soul Bar, where Brown used to come shoot pool with his buddies.

How awesome would it have been to hang out with James Brown? Almost makes me wish I grew up in Augusta. Almost.

One of my biggest regrets as a music writer is that I never got the chance to see Brown perform before he passed away. Lord knows, I had my chances. But I was always doing something else when he was in town -- or I never wanted to pay $50 to see him in a club.

Oh well.

At least I got to put my arm around James Brown -- even if it was only a statue of him.

(Top photo from Sun archives. Bottom photo by me)

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