My weekly drive to and from work, as well as other running around town, clocks in around 6-7 hours on the road. It's a fine time for me to catch up on phone calls, but I largely spend my time in the car listening to audio books. As you can see from the photo below, there's no point being in a hurry.
I find audio books a great way to pass time, get new information and in the best possible circumstance, provide compelling entertainment. As a quick aside, here are three highly recommended audiobooks:
1. Tracy Morgan- I am the New Black (Tracy Morgan's autobiography, read by the author, is hilarious and surprisingly touching)
2. Hannibal- Thomas Harris (This sequel to 'Silence of the Lambs' is the first audiobook I ever listened to and the reader, Daniel Gerroll, is still one of the best)
3. Doc: A Novel- Mary Doria Russell (A spectacular take on the life of John 'Doc' Holiday, that's as Southern as biscuits and gravy)
Anyway, back to the business at hand. I'm current listening to 'The One' by RJ Smith, a biography on the 'hardest working man in Show Business', James Brown.
'The One' covers Brown's difficult upbringing, his struggle for success and his difficulty managing his demons once he's gained worldwide popularity and wealth. It's often not a pretty tale, but it's always an engrossing one. I'm at a point in his story where he's about to do a benefit show in Boston, the night following the assassination of Martin Luther King jr. The show was aired on PBS nationwide, in an effort to keep people off the street and hopefully to dilute the potential for additional violence.
Here is a mini documentary offering a historic overview of that show.
In the sixties, Brown quickly became a fixture on network variety shows. He never compromised his performance, bringing sweat, soul and screeching to a national audience that initial didn't know what to make of this 5'6" dynamo.
Please, Please- Hollywood Palldium
'The biggest mistake we ever made in our career was agreeing to follow James Brown on stage"- Keith Richards, Rolling Stones.
The mistake in question happened in the movie 'The T.A.M.I. Show'. Filmed in 1964, this concert for kids (Teenage America Music International) brought a number of hot acts of the day on one stage. Marvin Gaye, The Beach Boys, Chuck Berry and the Rolling Stones were just a few of artists on the roster. But the unquestioned highlight was the very pissed off James Brown and the Famous Flames.
When The Godfather of Soul found out that he wouldn't be closing the show, he swore that he'd do a show that the Stones could never follow, and...well, see for yourself.
James Brown- The T.A.M.I. Show 1964
One of Brown's most peculiar performances of the sixties came in a Frankie Avalon-Annette Funicello flick, 'Ski-Party'. Brown complete with the Famous Flames and a St. Bernard ski into a lodge out of the blue to lip sync to 'I Feel Good'.
Finally, this is my favorite JB performance of my favorite JB song: 'There Was A Time'. Check out how he double clutches, shimmying on one leg, while heading for the curtain. Thank goodness for videotape.
James Brown- There Was A Time (Hollywood Palace)
As a young radio pup in Cincinnati, James Brown came by my station, WCIN to do a midday interview with DJ Frank Bailey. I leave you with the quote he gave Frank when the announcer asked him to speak to today's youth:
'Young People, respect your elders, get a good education, die when you can't help it'.
Then he got up and walked out the door. Buy a James Brown greatest hits cd: 9.99. Listen to a JB original insane homily live and in person: priceless!
Take care of your whole self and have an outstanding weekend.