I’ve always respected the Godfather of Soul for his contribution to music, his passion, and his work ethic. Brown was a true pioneer during the cultural revolution of the ‘60s, not only for his music but as an unlikely activist who recognized how his celebrity could help the African American community at a time when minorities needed leaders to look up to.
Got the Feelin, James Brown lIve in Boston, 1968 (www.youtube.com)
Although Brown was often as explosive off stage in his personal life as he was on it, his music helped to define both soul and funk at a time when R&B was evolving from the Four Tops and Temptations into a new era of musical styles.
However, the day after Martin Luther King was assassinated, James Brown made one of the most important decisions of his life by not canceling his scheduled concert in Boston in order to help the African American community heal a raw and painful wound, which was on the brink of breaking wide open. With the help of a local TV station, Brown’s concert was broadcast across the city in an effort to keep people’s attention focused on something upbeat instead of taking to the streets to vent their anger. It’s a moment in time that could have easily charted a different course for the African American community in Boston and the nation had Brown not been the type of person to step up and take charge of the situation.
Now on DVD shelves as of August 5, I Got the Feelin’: James Brown in the ‘60s is a remarkable three disc set that showcases the huge impact the God Father of Soul had on American music during one of the most volatile periods in the country’s history. If you’re not a fan or haven’t really been able to figure out the magic of James Brown, I Got the Feelin’ puts his early life into perspective to reveal how Brown became something more than just a great musical artist and how he transformed into political and social icon that influenced an entire generation of emerging artists and a nation in mourning. It’s truly an outstanding set filled with rare footage, unseen interviews, rare historical audio, and a vault of live performances, some uncommon and some legendary that you won’t easily find on DVD.
Disc 1 features the powerful VH-1 documentary “The Night James Brown Saved Boston”, which premiered at SXSW, that chronicles the events of the Beantown show with thoughts from the former mayor of Boston, Brown’s band mates, manager Charles Bobbit, Rev. Al Sharpton, civil rights activist Cornel West, and more. While Disc 2 gives fans the actual concert with “James Brown Live at The Boston Garden – April 5, 1968″, the documentary perfectly outlines the significance of the concert while also revealing Brown’s political opposition to some of King’s principles. It also remind fans how the concert was still a business endeavor, which Brown was conflicted over at the time since it had to make money. One of the most powerfully raw moments comes when the crowd starts to rush the stage and the room begins to boil over in anger. Brown takes matters into his own hands and calls upon concertgoers to not make the African American community look bad by resorting violence and giving the majority what they expect. It’s a moment that helped to calm race relations and cement James Brown as an unlikely civil rights hero.
Disc 3 serves up the in-color “James Brown Live at the Apollo ‘68″ concert, which took place at the legendary Harlem theater in March 1968 and was broadcast on television as Man to Man with a seven song set with two medleys consisting of another nine songs, which include “It’s a Man’s Man’s World”, “Please, Please, Please”, “Cold Sweat”, and more. Also on the disc is Brown’s renowned 1964 performance of “Out of Sight” from the T.A.M.I. Show and two bonus performances – “I Got You”, July 14, 1968 in Paris and “It’s a Man’s Man’s World”, November 25, 1967 in Paris.
As you can see, I Got the Feeling’: James Brown in the ‘60s is something special. It’s an amazing set with one of the best liner booklets I’ve read, as director David Leaf outlines how he got involved to make the DVD and documentary while also beautifully educating fans on the life of the Godfather of Soul from his own personal experience with the material and his memories of one of the greatest singers of the 20th Century.
It’ll definitely make you “feel good” like the way you should with a DVD.
By Reg Seeton for the Deadblot.com