The definitive biography of the soul legend James Brown by National Book Award-winning novelist James McBride
'A formidable free-style book that isn't straight biography but a mix of history, street-level investigative reporting, hagiography, Deep South sociology, music criticism, memoir and some fiery preaching' Rolling Stone magazine
A Guardian best music book of 2016
The music of James Brown was almost a genre in its own right, and he was one of the biggest and most influential cultural figures of the twentieth century. But the singer known as the 'Hardest Working Man in Show Business' was also an immensely troubled, misunderstood and complicated man. Award-winning writer James McBride, himself a professional musician, has undertaken a journey of discovery in search of the 'real' James Brown, delving into the heartbreaking saga of Brown's childhood and destroyed estate, and uncovering the hidden history of Brown's early years.
Thoughtful and probing . . . when McBride digs in, especially when describing the music - that massive, unstoppable, titanic, world-shaking accomplishment - by virtue of his own training as a saxophonist, he does so with great warmth, insight and frequent wit . . . James McBride's welcome elucidation of these points is clear, deeply felt and unmistakable - NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW
The definitive look at one of the greatest, most important entertainers, The Godfather, Da Number One Soul Brother, Mr Please, Please Himself
The astonishing tangle of greatness and mayhem that was James Brown is embedded in this book. Honestly, it's not a musical biography. It's more than that. It conjures not just the man but the groove itself
The author of the best-selling memoir THE COLOR OF WATER and the National Book Award-winning novel THE GOOD LORD BIRD turns out to also be the biographer of James Brown we've all been waiting for . . . McBride's true subject is race and poverty in a country that doesn't want to hear about it, unless compelled by a voice that demands to be heard - NEW YORK MAGAZINE
James McBride is an award-winning writer and musician. He has been a staff writer for the Washington Post, People magazine, and the Boston Globe. His memoir and tribute to his mother, The Color of Water, spent more than two years on the New York Times bestseller list, was published worldwide, and was the winner of the prestigious Anisfield-Wolf Book Award. As a composer, he won the American Music Theater Festival's Stephen Sondheim Award for his jazz/pop musical Bobos, and has composed songs for Anita Baker, Grover Washington Jr., and Gary Burton. A jazz saxophonist, he has performed with Rachelle Farrell and with legendary jazz performer Little Jimmy Scott. He lives in Pennsylvania.