Being James Brown is Hard to Do, Good Luck ‘Get on Up’

Look out, there’s a James Brown biopic due to hit theaters in August.

Trailers for Get on Up are already starting to pop up on TV stations, meaning the hype squad behind this flick are preparing to be some of the hardest working hype people in show business. That kind of lead time is the type usually reserved for summer blockbusters featuring tons of CGI and people in stupid costumes.

Do Ron Howard and his pals at Imagine Entertainment, and Mick Jagger of Jagged Films, think they have another Ray on their hands?

Maybe they do. Only time will tell.

Chadwick Boseman is playing the Godfather of Soul in the film, and he’s got his work cut out for him. James Brown could electrify the stage when he was in the mood to bring the house to its knees.

Go back and watch some of Brown’s performances from the 70s that were caught on film. His band was notoriously tight, his mic skills were out of sight, and he blew the roof off the joint like he was dynamite, on a regular basis.

I’m no James Brown historian, but in my mind this was James Brown at the height of his powers.

Really the only reason I’m even bringing the movie up is just to have an excuse to post a 15-minute video of perhaps the best performance I’ve seen.

In 1974 James Brown flew to Zaire to perform in a music festival connected with the George Foreman vs Muhammad Ali’s famed Rumble in the Jungle fight. The festival was the subject of a 2008 documentary called Soul Power

The filmmakers dug up footage of not only the performances, but the behind the scenes stuff as well.

I’ve often said every musician on the planet should watch the clips of James Brown in Zaire and take notes, because this guy puts on an amazing show. Fortunately, that can be found on YouTube.

(And don’t tell anybody, but the Soul Power documentary is on YouTube too.)