This book still does not address many areas I find interesting in James Brown's career but I find it a natural companion to the three other JB books in my collection: Cynthia Rose's "Living In America: The Soul Saga Of James Brown"; Geoff Brown's biography "James Brown"; and ofcourse, the Brown/Tucker "The Godfather Of Soul - James Brown". All three dig deep into this metaphysical musician's mind but this one has a stronger narrative, a bit less guarded: his late '80s fall is described in a more contrite way, for example. His scientific study of his audience is perhaps something new in his dialogue - but he broaches the subject of how music motivates women in a different way than it does men, then immediately moves on to the next thought. This subject should have been expanded upon (especially for those studious fans who remark that even by 2005 standards his live albums contain some of the most overt sexuality, obviously directed at the female fans, ever recorded), but he drops it like he does "Mother Popcorn" on stage these days - the audience sits forward to enjoy something very unusual, one of his most engaging opuses rarely revisited, then falls back after about 45 seconds. Similarly, his admonitions to contemporary rap/hip-hop artists are eloquent but must be deemed a bit self-righteous: there is alot of rough, "adult" content in his catalogue which can't be explained away as "art". However, fans can trace his development into more "cerebral" music, with more and more sensitive ballads and socially-conscious tunes being produced from the late '60s on.
I was happy to read his description of Little Richard's assistance in his early career, but a bit disheartened when he suggested that Penniman was basically a Rock and Roll raver - I find it hard to believe that this publication brought out his true feelings about his Georgia neighbor - the influence is quite obvious and not just on "Chonnie On Chon". Another depressing ommission is with Marva Whitney, his popular lead female vocalist from c.'67 to '70. A recent documentary reveals that Marva traveled To Vietnam with the star but here he simply says that he was only allowed to travel with a small part of his musical backup.
Despite the above concerns, with this book James Brown has shown the literary world that he is a writer. Ofcourse this was obvious to the musical world - just listen to "Don't Be A Drop Out", "I Don't Want Nobody To Give Me Nothing", "The Man In The Glass", "I'm Not Demanding", "It's Christmas Time", and "Peace In The World".