Los 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.
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.