Monday, 16 March 2015

The Hardest Working Man in Show Business

I caught just one film over the w/end, but it was a good one - the 2014 Mick Jagger produced documentary Mr. Dynamite: The Rise of James Brown. Running a brisk 90mins, the film offered a potted history of the hardest working man in show business - from his early days singing for dimes in his aunt's whorehouse in Georgia thru to the formation of the J.Bs in the early 70's. Incomplete as it was, the documentary still took care of business, with a wealth of fantastic live footage and a near definitive roster of central players in Brown's musical life - members of The Famous Flames and the J.B.'s (including Bootsy Collins and Danny Ray, James' "capeman") who all bring along some priceless anecdotes, as well as the aforementioned Rolling Stone who fondly recalls smoothing a few of James' ruffled feathers when he was displeased with the filming arrangements of the T.A.M.I. Show. And while the film sidesteps the thorny issue of Brown's mistreatment of his women, the interviewees are given free reign to air their grievances about their boss' thriftiness, and his near-tyrannical control over how they played and looked; and I was genuinely surprised to discover James was an unapologetic Nixonite, publicly supporting Nixon's administration (which was only begrudgingly reciprocated by the President). A shame the film wasn't longer, although if you have a copy of the fabulous Soul Power, it pretty much picks up from where Mr. Dynamite bows out.


2 comments:

  1. Just thought I'd let you know that all the posts since October 20th have only just appeared all in one go - I don't know why this keeps happening with this blog - maybe it's something wrong with my computer!
    It's great anyway - lots to catch up on. I like any blogger who loves both Bela Tarr and Lucio Fulci! We also have similar tastes in music - Coil, TG etc.
    Peter.

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  2. Many thanks Peter, and apologies for the landslide of posts - rest assured yr PC is not buggy - this blog has been on a permanent vacation since October last so to keep the blood pumping (and Blogger from consigning me to the scrapheap of abandoned blogs), I'm posting bits and pieces I have left on Facebook over the last few months.

    Thanks a bunch for stopping by, it's very nice to find someone is taking an interest, and always great to hear from a kindred spirit !

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