Senior editor at L.A. Magazine, RJ Smith saw his first book, The Great Black Way, win the coveted California Book Award. With The One, Smith profiles one of the 20th century's most innovative musical icons, the Godfather of Soul himself, James Brown. Drawing on extensive research and captivating interviews, Smith chronicles Brown's rise from abject poverty to the pinnacle of fame, while also detailing Brown's work as a civil rights activist and entrepreneur.
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"James Brown was an American musical institution whose career spanned decades and whose influence can still be felt in R&B, funk, and hip hop. From his hardscrabble upbringing in the pre-segregation Deep South to his manic performances and tireless work habits, Brown's life was not short on ribaldry. For this reason, Kevin Free, who has performed Shakespeare, at first seems an odd choice--too clean sounding for Brown's down-home experience. But by adding distance to the work and not falling prey to stereotypes, he elevates Brown's life and career to that of a great drama, complete with the tragic elements that befell the artist on so many occasions as he struggled with his demons. J.S.H. (c) AudioFile 2012, Portland, Maine"
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