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Reviewers: Don Mather, Dick Stafford, Marc Bridle, John Eyles, Ian Lace, Colin Clarke

James Brown
The godfather of soul
A Portrait
Arthaus Music DVD 100 186


DVD players were new to me and this was the first opportunity I have had to use the equipment; two things struck me, how easy it was to set up and how excellent the quality of both vision and sound it produced. What was also surprising was that the new technology should be used to make a DVD where only a few interviews are live and most of the sound and vision was from a previous era. Some of the earlier film is in Black and White and the sound from a similar era.

James Brown has received world-wide acclaim as a Rhythm and Blues artist and he is in the top bracket of entertainers, both from a point of view of the fee he can command and for his entertainment value. His backing bands have always been good too, but from the DVD content it would appear that they did not always share so well in the payoff! Maceo Parker who is acknowledged today as a leading jazz saxophone player, spent a long period in his band and formed his own outfit from some of Brown's musicians. This occurred after Brown had a brush with the law and ended up in Jail!

My guess is that many of James Brown's fans world wide will already be aware of most of what this DVD contains, but for them it will bring the whole James Brown Story together. To me the musical content is disappointing, but then it is a portrait of 'the man'.

Don Mather

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