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Rown through McBride’s own insights as a black musician with Southern roots  Kill ’Em and Leave is a song unearthing and celebrating James Brown’s great legacy the cultural landscape of America todayPraise for Kill ’Em and Leave “The definitive look at one of the greatest most important entertainers The Godfather Da Number One Soul Brother Mr Please Please Himself JAMES BROWN” Spike Lee “ Please please please Can anybody tell us who and what was James Brown At last the real deal James McBride on James Brown is the matchup we’ve been waiting for a musician who came up hard in Brooklyn with JB hooks lodged in his brain a monster ear for the truth and the chops to write it This is no celeb bio but a compelling personal uest so very timely angry hilarious and as irresistible as any James Brown beat” Gerri Hirshey author of Nowhere to Run The Story of Soul Music “An unconventional and fascinating portrait of Soul Brother No and the significance of his rise and fall in American culture” Kirkus Review. Super fascinating could possibly have been a longform essay

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Kill 'Em and Leave

National Book Award winner James McBride goes in search of the “real” James Brown after receiving a tip that promises to uncover the man behind the myth His surprising journey illuminates not only our understanding of this immensely troubled misunderstood and complicated soul genius but the ways in which our cultural heritage has been shaped by Brown’s legacy   Kill ’Em and Leave is than a book about James Brown Brown’s rough and tumble Kill 'Em PDF life through McBride’s lens is an unsettling metaphor for American life the tension between North and South black and white rich and poor McBride’s travels take him to forgotten corners of Brown’s never before revealed history the country town where Brown’s family and thousands of others were displaced by America’s largest nuclear power bomb making facility a South Carolina field where a long forgotten cousin recounts in the dead of night a fuller history of Brown’s sharecropping childhood which until now has been a mystery McBride seeks out the Amer. Kill Em and Leave Searching for James Brown and the American Soul by James McBride is a 2016 Spiegel Grau publication I always liked James Brown His music his showmanship and the way he often found himself stepping in to keep the peace and his promotion of education While I know the same facts about James that anyone else knows I ve never read any books or watched any movies based on his life So when this book was recommended to me I was very eager to learn something comprehensive about The Godfather of Soul Musical biographies often walk on a fine line with too much of one thing but not enough of another It depends on the author as to which approach to take and while I was in the mood for a very detailed portrait of James Brown the author took a different tack but it was in its way kind of refreshing The author didn t attempt to gloss over sugarcoat or make excuses for James darker side revealing the performers crimes his penchant for being difficult his mistreatment of women his numerous marriages his drug use and various other ways he was unpredictable or contradictory Yet the author s goal seemed to be focused on how James was remembered the battles he won the ones he lost and the incredible mess his estate turned into once his will was discovered We learn who James really trusted who were the people closest to him and who stuck by him all his life and this is as much their story as it is Brown s or McBride s in many ways The author also takes a look at the racial climate and atmosphere James was raised up in and the way this environment influenced him This part of the book I think is supposed to help explain why James felt like he did what shaped his attitude and prompted him to act or react the way he did during his adult life But the author s spirit also penetrates the book which under any other circumstance might be considered a biography faux pas but in this case it actually creates a dual look at James Brown Not only do we get personal reflections from the people McBride interviewed but we see the how the information seeps into the author s soul and the obvious effect writing this book must have had on himI wouldn t say this approach is one everyone will appreciate and I don t know if would work with any other subject or author but I thought it was a nice touch and made the journey appear personal Still at the end of the day I m not sure if I really got that intimate portrait the author was going for I do think I understand James Brown a little better but his vital spirit or essence just didn t bleed through despite the personal tones employed This was not exactly the type of biography I was hoping for but was one that gave me deeper insight into the man behind the electric voice and performances that set the world on fire If you are an aficionado and already know all the facts about the man his music songs and all the rest then this is a book you will want to add in order to get a deeper understanding of James roots If like me you are a fan liked his music and enjoyed his amazing on stage presence and showmanship but didn t know a lot about him otherwise this might not be the best book to give you that in depth look at his recordings his political work the inner workings of his relationships with wives and children or a closer inspection of his addictions and events leading to his prison terms However once you have gained than a basic knowledge about Brown I think this personal assessment will take on deeper meaning Overall this is a fresh approach to examining James Brown s life and is an enjoyable journey which has increased by my curiosity about the private performer Thanks to McBride I know which places I should perhaps avoid in my search for accurate information which will be very helpful I m stalling just a bit here not sure of how I want to rate this one I keep waffling between a three and a four star rating so for my personal record 35 stars will have to suffice

REVIEW Kill 'Em and Leave

Ican expatriate in England who co created the James Brown sound visits the trusted right hand manager who worked with Brown for forty one years and interviews Brown’s most influential nonmusical creation his “adopted son” the Reverend Al Sharpton He describes the stirring visit of Michael Jackson to the Augusta Georgia funeral home where the King of Pop sat up all night with the body of his musical godfather spends hours talking with Brown’s first wife and lays bare the Dickensian legal contest over James Brown’s estate a fight that has consumed careers prevented any money from reaching the poor schoolchildren in Georgia and South Carolina as instructed in his will cost Brown’s estate millions in legal fees and left James Brown’s body to lie for than eight years in a gilded coffin in his daughter’s yard in South Carolina   James McBride is one of the most distinctive and electric literary voices in America today and part of the pleasure of his narrative is being in his presence coming to understand B. James Brown was an excellent performer He was meticulous and methodical when it came to rehearsals It sounds like he demanded much of his musicians but didn t always pay them what was fair McBride speaks to people that were in Brown s inner circle but these people don t always talk about Brown So we never get a full picture of Brown as manager friend father We don t get too much of a picture of him as the man on the stage which is how Brown wanted it kill em and leave I found the anecdotes about life on the road and the history of RB interesting But this isn t a long book and parts of it felt repetitive which made me think the source material was sparse


10 thoughts on “Kill 'Em and Leave

  1. says:

    Kill ‘Em and Leave Searching for James Brown and the American Soul by James McBride is a 2016 Spiegel Grau publication I always liked James Brown His music his showmanship and the way he often found himself stepping in to keep the peace and his promotion of education While I know the same facts about James that anyone else knows

  2. says:

    It looks like McBride did his interviews for this book about music phenom James Brown in 2012 long before this book was published in 2016 In the Foreword McBride crankily reveals he was being taken to the cleaners in a divorce settlement and he needed to write this book— any book—to bring in a little money Any flaws this book contains then become perfectly understandable and McBride keeps up that level of

  3. says:

    This book is not a balanced unbiased chronological account of James Brown’s life and musical career It is however an impassioned som

  4. says:

    35 starsSee me talk about this briefly in my May wrap up

  5. says:

    First things first James McBride wrote an excellent excellent memoir called The Color of Water Go read itSecond don't expect a traditional biography when you open Kill 'Em and Leave Authors of biographies concern themselves with facts typically in chronological order That's not to say McBride isn't interested i

  6. says:

    James Brown was an excellent performer He was meticulous and methodical when it came to rehearsals It sounds like he demanded much of his musicians but didn't always pay them what was fair McBride speaks to people that we

  7. says:

    National Book Award winner James McBride goes on a Citizen Kane like search for the real James Brown and muses about race identity music the northsouth divide and whether one can ever TRULY know someone With interviews with distant cousins ex wives life long childhood best friends former managers and accountants and former band members KILL '

  8. says:

    Super fascinating could possibly have been a longform essay

  9. says:

    A very fitting title for this book The author James McBride had to make a trip to the American South to learn about one of the world's greatest entertainers from the people who actually knew him Because of James Brown's philosophy of kill 'em and leave I don't think the world ever got a chance to see the man outside of his genuis So McBride tries to bring to us a realistic view of the man which ends up being a sad story I enjoye

  10. says:

    FANTASTIC BOOK Less a straight line music biography of Mr James Brown of a thoughtful attempt at understanding some of the socio cultural forces that shaped a complicated man I just finished the book and I am about to read it again it is that good

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