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Summer Learning Track: The Hardest Working Man in Show Business

Summer is the perfect time to put the funk in your step and the soul in your ears, so get on up to the Richland Library to learn about one of my favorite founding fathers, James Brown. As the self-proclaimed Hardest Working Man in Show Business, Brown was a pioneer of soul and funk music, bringing the energy of his gospel music background to fuse with the blues and early rock to give it all a punch of horns, wah guitars, walking bass, and flashier capes than Elvis ever thought of getting away with.

If you want to get down with your bad self this summer, Richland Library has plenty of events and material to show you how Brown's legacy of Soul Brother #1 helped bring African American music into the mainstream. Get started by following this sample learning track, or develop your own!

Note - the jam session is June 30 and Sheem One is June 26!


Amazon Says: In this 90 minute DVD, originally aired on PBS, James Brown delivers, for the first time, the in-depth story of his life and music, from his early years of poverty and impriso more...
Amazon Says: In this 90 minute DVD, originally aired on PBS, James Brown delivers, for the first time, the in-depth story of his life and music, from his early years of poverty and imprisonment to his extraordinary live shows. Brown became a musical icon whose extrov less...
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Amazon Says: From pleading R&B singer to father of funk to black-pride spokesman to full-on pop star, James Brown became one of our most scintillating stars, and this 70-track set is his b more...
Amazon Says: From pleading R&B singer to father of funk to black-pride spokesman to full-on pop star, James Brown became one of our most scintillating stars, and this 70-track set is his best retrospective. His '50s hits Please, Please, Please and Try Me give way to Bewildered; Night Train; I Got You (I Feel Good); Papa's Got a Brand New Bag Pt. 1; Cold Sweat; Say It Loud (I'm Black and I'm Proud); Get Up Offa That Thang , and all the other hits and extended grooves! less...
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Amazon Says: You hold in your hands a backstage pass to one of the most extraordinary concert events ever filmed. Featuring musical legends James Brown, B.B. King, Bill Withers, Celia Cru more...
Amazon Says: You hold in your hands a backstage pass to one of the most extraordinary concert events ever filmed. Featuring musical legends James Brown, B.B. King, Bill Withers, Celia Cruz and a host of others, SOUL POWER documents the three-night Zaire ’74 music festival planned to coincide with the now-legendary and epic “Rumble in the Jungle” between Muhammad Ali and George Foreman. Much more than a concert film, Soul Power provides a dynamic fly-on-the-wall look into the turbulent proceedings, with on-the-spot commentary from the musicians themselves, concert organizers Hugh Masekela and Stewart Levine, Muhammad Ali and boxing promoter extraordinaire Don King, Soul Power will leave you breathless. less...
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Amazon Says: The story of the night James Brown kept the peace in the wake of the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., and delivered hope with an immortal performance Since J more...
Amazon Says: The story of the night James Brown kept the peace in the wake of the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., and delivered hope with an immortal performance Since James Brown’s death in December 2006, the Godfather of Soul has received stirring tributes from coast to coast. Yet few have addressed his contribution in the darkest hour of the civil rights movement. Telling the untold story of his historic Boston Garden concert of 1968, The Hardest Working Man also captures the magnificent achievements that made Brown a revolutionary icon of American popular culture. Acclaimed journalist James Sullivan begins his stirring account by depicting the racially charged climate of Boston in the hours after Martin Luther King, Jr.’s death. Brown’s concert was slated for cancellation as police geared up for mass retaliation. After Brown butted heads with the mayor, the show was allowed to go on—and his emotional, electric performance was broadcast live on local television. Though rioting erupted in more than a hundred U.S. cities that night, Boston remained quiet. Not only bringing to life that transforming show, James Sullivan also charts Brown’s incredible rise from poverty to self-made millionaire and the pivotal voice behind the signature anthem “Say It Loud—I’m Black and I’m Proud,” making The Hardest Working Man a tribute to an unforgettable concert and a rousing biography of a revolutionary musician. less...
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Amazon Says: A singer calls out to the crowd. An electric bass thumps out a beat. Horns blare and strings swirl. These are the sounds of R & B. Rhythm and blues music evolved from all more...
Amazon Says: A singer calls out to the crowd. An electric bass thumps out a beat. Horns blare and strings swirl. These are the sounds of R & B. Rhythm and blues music evolved from all sorts of sounds: swinging jazz, gritty blues, and African American spiritual songs. The music's smooth mix of styles made it unique, and its passionate performers made it a sensation. Ever since Ray Charles hit the charts in the 1950s, R & B fans have held it down on dance floors. And R & B singers have belted out messages of love and calls for social change. Find out what drove R & B's earliest performers to stand up and sing. Follow the music's path from gospel choirs to wild funk bands. And learn more about legends such as James Brown, Aretha Franklin, Michael Jackson, and Beyoncé. less...
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Amazon Says: Nelson George and Alan Leeds have assembled the first comprehensive collection of writings about the late, great Godfather of Soul, creating a fascinating mosaic of the man an more...
Amazon Says: Nelson George and Alan Leeds have assembled the first comprehensive collection of writings about the late, great Godfather of Soul, creating a fascinating mosaic of the man and the musician. Known as the hardest-working man in show business, James Brown embodied rhythm and blues, funk and soul, and sensuality. His musical innovations in such indelible grooves as “Get Up (I Feel Like Being a) Sex Machine,” “I Got You (I Feel Good),” and “Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag,” transformed American music. To appreciate Brown’s immeasurable influence, to chronicle his professional and personal triumphs and struggles, and to capture his essence, writers from four decades weigh in on the legendary Soul Brother Number One. What emerges is a tribute to a trailblazer—one that no dedicated fan or music history buff will want to be without. less...
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Amazon Says: In this remarkable book, Douglas Wolk brings to life an October evening in 1962, at the Apollo Theatre in Harlem: an evening at the height of Cold War tensions. In great detai more...
Amazon Says: In this remarkable book, Douglas Wolk brings to life an October evening in 1962, at the Apollo Theatre in Harlem: an evening at the height of Cold War tensions. In great detail, Wolk pieces together what took place (and what was recorded) that night, and illustrates beautifully the enduring power of one of James Brown's - and popular music's - defining moments: Live at the Apollo. EXCERPT Standing on the stage of the Apollo at a sold-out show on the night of October 24, 1962, screaming, James Brown would have looked out and seen 1500 people screaming back at him in the audience, split between the floor and the balconies. The walls behind them were a dark crimson; the balconies were decorated with the laurel wreaths that are the emblem of Apollo the god, recalling Daphne, who became a laurel tree to escape his lust. Most of the audience thought there was a good chance they'd be dead within the week. less...
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Amazon Says: James Brown has always been a fascinating, controversial figure. From his humble childhood in Georgia, he went on to change the face of American music with hit after hit on th more...
Amazon Says: James Brown has always been a fascinating, controversial figure. From his humble childhood in Georgia, he went on to change the face of American music with hit after hit on the R&B charts. And while he was a courageous public figure in a time of national strife and adversity, his personal life took many destructive turns, leaving a long and difficult path of redemption ahead of him. For the first time in well over a decade, he speaks candidly and at length about his tumultuous, incredible journey. James Brown moves beyond his music and his much-publicized legal troubles to delve deeply into the highs and lows of his life. less...
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