James Brown bio lands

james+brown+the+one+cover.jpgLos Angeles journalist RJ Smith's biography of James Brown began making its way to bookstores last week. The One: The Life and Music of James Brown is getting some rave response. Janet Maslin in the New York Times: "R J Smith does not have to explain why his big new biography of James Brown is such a showstopper. This book’s sparkle speaks for itself, as does Mr. Smith’s ability to take on his screaming, moaning, kinetically blessed, unbeatably shrewd subject. It takes a nervy authorial voice to describe James Brown with anything better than awe, mimicry or condescension. It takes a prescient writer to look at a picture of 9-year-old James Brown and see the boy who is father to the man: 'mouth unsmiling, the head tilted at an angle that sends a message — got something for me?'” Nice. Brown died on Christmas Day in 2006 at the age of 73.

Smith, who lives in Echo Park and has a marital connection to LA Observed, is making the rounds: he was on KPCC's "Airtalk with Larry Mantle" this morning.

How fun is this? Brown performing "Please, Please, Please" and "Night Train" at the TAMI Show in the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium in 1964 — and I do mean performing.

It's not that unusual to see white teenagers screaming for James Brown. He did a lot of the teen TV shows in those days: "Shindig" and "Hollywood a Go Go" among them, along with "Soul Train."

Bonus inside: "It's a Man's Man's Man's World," live in Paris in 1966.

More by Kevin Roderick:
LA Observed Notes: 60 Minutes, selling the Coliseum and more
Gil Cedillo, Nick Melvoin win LA runoffs*
LA Observed Notes: Baca goes down, LAX shuffle, media moves
LA Observed Notes: Big TV news, media moves, obits and more
LA Observed Notes: Writers on the verge, Fox, the riots and more
Recent Books stories on LA Observed:
Press freedom under Trump and the Festival of Books
Amy Dawes, 56, journalist and author
Richard Schickel, 84, film critic, director and author
The Lost Journalism of Ring Lardner: An Interview with Ron Rapoport
Kevin Starr, 76, the historian of California
The Rams were the original 'Hollywood's Team'
'History of the Central Library'
Friends with books: Two men of Mars


LA Observed on Twitter