Say it Loud
Davin Seay

What's in a name? It's what we call ourselves, how we tell each other apart, the way we know who's present and accounted for. You have it when you're born and you take it with you when you die, one to a customer. And then there's James Brown. From almost the beginning, one name has never been enough for a man who single-handedly defined soul and showmanship for all time. James Brown means many different things to a lot of different people, and that's a quality you can't sum up in a single name. Which is why he's known by so many of them, some given to him, others he bestowed on himself: "Soul Brother #1" "King of Soul;" "The Godfather of Soul;" "The Hardest Working Man In Show Business;" "Mr. Dynamite;" "Mr. Please Please Please;" "Minister Of The New New Super Heavy Funk;" drop any one of these and people know exactly who you're talking about, and always will. It's the incredible staying power of the late iconic entertainer that is at the heart of Say It Loud! The Soul Power of James Brown, a celebration in words and images. Written by Davin Seay (author of recent biographies of Al Green, Snoop Dogg and others) and lavishly illustrated from the archives of Soul specialist Rico Tee, Say It Loud! pays fitting tribute to the man and his music at their prime, that amazing run that began with "Please, Please, Please" and continued unabated through "Try Me," "I Got You," "Night Train," "Papa's Got A Brand New Bag," "It's A Man's World," "Cold Sweat," "Cry, Cry Cry" like his many names, the list goes on with over a hundred hits in all. Vintage photos, record art, posters and rare memorabilia capture the explosive energy and electrifying charisma of the artist synonymous with Soul. An in-depth appreciation of his amazing accomplishments as an artist, a cultural force, and a symbol of empowerment frames Say It Loud!, but the book also takes times to tell the often outrageous tales of his tumultuous personal life, the stuff of show business legend. It's a story enlivened by rare and exclusive interviews with those who have been a part of the James Brown saga: friends, family, and fellow-musicians. The first book about the legendary vocalist, songwriter, producer, and performer since his death in late 2006, Say It Loud! The Soul Power Of James Brown is an effecting, entertaining, and visually stunning look back on a singer who redefined music, a performer who reinvented entertainment, and a man who rewrote history. It doesn't matter what you call him, there will always be only one James Brown. What to call James Brown began early. Named for his father, Joseph, a mix-up on his birth certificate gave him the name James instead, and it stuck. At least until his family started calling him Junior or, alternately, Little Junior. Brown's hardscrabble history as a Southern sharecropper's son during the Depression is recounted in the opening chapters of Say It Loud! Picking cotton, shining shoes, and dancing for spare change are all part of the rags-to-riches roots on which his legend is built. So, too, are his stints as a semi-pro boxer and baseball player, until an injury turned him toward a career in music. Almost immediately the young performer marked out his turf, taking gospel fervor, R&B grooves, and rock-and-roll showmanship and melting them together in a scorching flow that set the bar for every Soul singer who ever followed, and ever will. From his formative days, singing gospel in a prison group, to his apprenticeship on the chitlin circuit fronting the Famous Flames, to creating the dazzling James Brown Revue, Say It Loud! distills the excitement of those years with vintage artwork and reminiscences from those who were eye-and-ear-witnesses. The book next moves into the early sixties, chronicling the landmark release of Live At The Apollo, Vol. 1, his galvanizing appearance on the TAMI Show, and the four time back-to-back smashes "Papa's Got A Brand New Bag," "I Got You (I Feel Good)," "It's A Man's World," and "Cold Sweat." It’s an era at the heart of the James Brown legacy and Say It Loud! lingers lovingly on the details, with period photos, artwork, and interviews with such musicians as Pee Wee Ellis, Maceo Parker, Bootsy Collins, Jabo Starks, Fred Welsey, and others, offering firsthand accounts of how the magic was made.