American Masters: Season 18, Episode 2

James Brown: Soul Survivor (29 Oct. 2003)

TV Episode  -   -  Documentary | Biography | History
7.2
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Title: James Brown: Soul Survivor (29 Oct 2003)

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Bobby Byrd ...
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Lyn Collins ...
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Martha High ...
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Fred Wesley ...
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Marva Whitney ...
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Makes Me Want to Jump Back ... Kiss Myself
31 December 2006 | by (Shanghai) – See all my reviews

This is a pretty good overview of The Godfather's career, and gives a fine idea of what shaped the man and his music. They interview the right people, including Marva Whitney, Lyn Collins, Bobby Byrd, Afrika Bambaata, Fred Wesley, Al Sharpton, and of course Mr. Dynamite himself. The file footage from the segregation era, and the brief recreations are worked in well around the interviews and concert footage.

I only wished that some of the interviews were a bit longer and more in-depth. Bobby Byrd and Lyn Collins give some tantalizing glimpses into the controlling, dominating side of James Brown. It would also have been nice if the film was longer and discussed more of his bands, sidemen and personnel changes. Certainly a shame that Maceo's name is never even mentioned throughout. But this is a fairly short career overview, more a bio of the man than any real examination of the music, and should serve as an interesting introduction to the world of James Brown.

The bonus features are recommended: part of JB's set recorded at the House of Blues in 2002; Soul Brother No. 1 singing It's A Man's World with Luciano Pavarotti at a 2002 fundraiser for Angola; some rehearsal footage.


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