Spotlight on James Brown, y’all: though the hardest working man in show business died in 2006, Brown is undergoing a resurgence of sorts this fall, on turntables and onscreen. Four of Brown’s albums have been reissued, including the career-encompassing starter set “20 All-Time Greatest Hits!” There’s a new biopic in theaters, “Get on Up,”starring Chadwick Boseman as Brown. And there’s the HBO documentary “Mr. Dynamite: The Rise of James Brown.” Speakeasy today premieres a clip from “Mr. Dynamite,” which was directed by Oscar-winner Alex Gibney and produced by Mick Jagger (who was also a producer of “Get on Up.”)
The documentary focuses on Brown’s social activism and business empire, and includes interviews with Jagger, Rev. Al Sharpton, Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson, Chuck Dand Brown’s musical collaborators, including Maceo Parker, Clyde Stubblefield,Melvin Parker, Alfred “Pee Wee” Ellis, Martha High, Bootsy Collins and Fred Wesley. The two-hour film also features archival interviews with Brown and previously unseen performance footage.
In the clip below, drummer Stubblefield and Brown’s former tour manager Alan Leeds are among the subjects describing the dominant role the singer played in King Records, which released his singles and albums starting with “Please Please Please” in 1956, and King Studio, where Brown recorded them.
“He owned King Studio,” Stubblefield says. “Not money-wise, but talent-wise.”
“Mr. Dynamite: The Rise of James Brown” debuts on HBO Oct. 27 at 9 p.m. EST. What do you think of the clip?