Shout! Factory Debuts James Brown Set14 Apr, 2008 By: Billy Gil
To mark the 40th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.'s assassination (April 4), Shout! Factory will release a boxed set of work from a social activist who's known more for his work as the hip-shaking singer who helped invent soul music: James Brown.
A three-DVD anthology of the late Godfather of Soul's work hits shelves Aug. 5 (prebook July 8) at $39.98, distributed by Sony BMG in the United States. I Got the Feelin': James Brown in the '60s includes the director's cut of The Night James Brown Saved Boston, several filmed concerts and a slew of bonus material.
“He was arguably one of the greatest entertainers of the 20th century,” said Shout! Factory CEO Richard Foos, who was one of the executive producers on The Night James Brown Saved Boston. “There's virtually nothing available on home video [of Brown in his prime].”
Disc one of the set has The Night James Brown Saved Boston, a documentary narrated by “24” star Dennis Haysbert about Brown's heroic performance April 5, 1968, the night after Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated. As riots broke out, the previously scheduled Boston Garden concert was televised live on Boston's public station WGBH to help keep the people of Boston off the streets.
The set includes an extended version of the film that originally aired on VH1 April 5 and premiered at the South by Southwest Festival in March.
“It's very important people see the full version because we go into how James Brown was influenced by Martin Luther King Jr.'s death and all the events that happened in Boston,” Foos said. “It spurred him to really take the mantle as an activist.”
The disc also includes additional interview footage with the Rev. Al Sharpton and Dr. Cornel West, and anecdotes from Charles Bobbitt, who worked with James for 40 years.
Disc two of the set has that actual performance, James Brown Live at The Boston Garden. Special features include additional audio from the radio simulcast and additional interview footage with WGBH's director and producer of the concert.
Disc three includes Brown's 1964 performance of “Out of Sight” as part of The T.A.M.I. Show, a 1964 concert film featuring artists such as The Rolling Stones, and Man to Man, Brown's 1968 performance at the Apollo Theater.
“[The T.A.M.I. Show] may have been the first time he was really exposed en masse to a white audience,” Foos said. “They might have heard his records, but not necessarily seen him. Man to Man documents him at his height, playing the Apollo … if you look at that and him doing ‘Out of Sight,' [it's] the peak of his pure out-and-out insane dancing.“It's mind-boggling that you have this incredible entertainer and musical force, and virtually nothing has been available [on home video] from the height of his prowess.”