The One: The Life and Music of James Brown by RJ Smith is a biographyof the Godfather of Soul. The title “The One” refers mainly to the artist’s emphasis on playing the right beat.
The publisher is giving away one copy of this book— use the form at the end of the post to enter.
- 464 pages
- Publisher: Gotham (March 15, 2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1592406572
My rating for The One – 5
The One: The Life and Music of James Brown by RJ Smith is a true testament that the nickname of “The Hardest Working Man in Show Business” is not an empty gesture. While I don’t think I’d like to have worked with Mr. Brown or even would have liked him personally, I can certainly appreciate and even admire his work ethic.
In this new biography, which digresses often but always stays on message, James Brown comes across as a demanding, violent, abusing and demanding man. However, this giant of music grew up in violent times; shaped by a segregated South in a rural community riddled with crime and poverty, which he never forgot and had had a hold on him.
When you’re a hammer, every problem looks like a nail.
And James Brown was a hammer.
You cannot have a biography of James Brown without mentioning the Civil Rights movement. Mr. Brown saw “equality” his way and according to his philosophy, he always maintained that once he’d be looked upon as a man, instead of a black man, he’d never be equal.
Most of all, James Brown understood showmanship and control. In the video below one could tell how he plays with the crowd – and he does it all like he did everything in life, under his own terms.
“”I never thought they’d have a statue of you in Augusta– and facing a confederate marker!”
He touched [Al] Sharpton on the arm, saying, “And don’t forget what I told you- I did it on my own terms. I never conformed to Augusta; they had to conform to me”
The complex personality of this musical titan comes across through the pages. From brandishing a gun to resolve disputes to picking up young fans with his limousine or from profiling those who worked for and/or against Mr. Brown (yes… and) to a fabulous story of Mr. Brown coming home to the town he loved, Augusta, GA only to be stopped by a fan and then hoisting a sign to welcome the young man’s mother who was on the same flight (I think).
Race relations and civil rights are really the strong point in this book. Through the life of James Brown the reader gets a history of race relations in these United States. While Mr. Brown tried to stay away from the politics of race and could not be called a trailblazer by any means, he had the uncanny ability to pop up in significant moments. The rise from shoeshine boy to a world renowned superstar is well documented through those troubled time.
With a footnote section spanning 50 pages and an impressive list of interviews, Mr. Smith wrote an encompassing biography. While this book not make everyone happy, it certainly made me look at James Brown in a whole new way.
An integrated biography of James Brown with fascinating insights into the artist’s life, showmanship, business ventures and activism. With more than forty hits on the Billboard charts and playing 350 shows a year at his peak it is no wonder James Brown became an icon of American music and changed the industry.
Covering a life of a man whose eccentric childhood included taking soldiers to his aunt that ran a house of ill repute, to an adulthood which he managed to lose several fortunes, this biography is complicated, sincere and will make you feel a range of emotions.
Giveaway ends: April 02, 2012
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TLC Book Tour for The One:
Zohar – Man of la Book
Disclaimer: I got this book for free from TLC Book Tours
- Respect The Architects – James Brown (thenewx1023.radio.com)
- Biography Unravels the Life of James Brown (theroot.com)
- James Brown bio lands (laobserved.com)
- Being James Brown (longform.org)
- ‘The One’ describes the sound and fury of James Brown (kansascity.com)
BOOK BLOGGERS – Have you read The One: The Life and Music of James Brown? If so link up your review below: