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Brown's Live at the Apollo (33 1/3) Paperback – 1 Oct 2004


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Product details

  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Continuum (1 Oct. 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0826415725
  • ISBN-13: 978-0826415721
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 1.6 x 21.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 134,330 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

This dissection of James Brown's Oct. 24, 1962, show at the Apollo and the resulting album is a resplendent work for both the amount of research and the passion Wolk provides. This short album history is not only a vivid recollection of Brown, but a colorful illustration of the time. --Mark Baumgarten, Willamette Week, 1/5/2005

About the Author

Douglas Wolk writes about music. His work appears regularly in The Village Voice, Time Out New York, Salon, Slate, Rolling Stone, The Nation, and many other publications. He lives in Portland, Oregon.

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Siriam TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 20 July 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A simple but effective running of the history, with comments on the individual recordings, of the songs that appear on James Browns first major album hit, "Live at the Apollo" recorded in October 1962 alongside the then occurring critical world event of the Cuban Missile Crisis, makes for an effective time capsule telling by Douglas Wolk of the making of this classic recording.

While the author veers towards the over stated at times (did the 1,500 in the audience based on the limited public news released really behave as they did based on the belief they could die in a week!) he does a much better job of nailing the history of James Brown. These include how he got to make this recording against his record company's indifference; his on balance limited hit record success to date offset by his constant touring of an all action performance, but most of all that what was on show here was one man's stylistic and personal interpretations of a suite of songs that covered black music across the 20s to the early 60s.

Some songs had undergone numerous adaptations and recordings by others plus JB before the versions done here (the ripping of of other peoples songs seems almost to have been a lifelong JB hallmark). What was really being performed was an exercise where songs could only last for less than a minute to over ten minutes as JB backed by his ever tight band riding on their leaders moods and his reading of the audience emotions laid down one of the truly original live recordings made.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 7 reviews
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Yeeeeoooow! Hott. 10 Sept. 2004
By Jess - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Given a book-length space to fill, many magazine writers do what comes naturally: they write a book-length magazine article. Wolk, however, approaches his narrative from the top down, treating the long form with the reverence and intricate attention of a clockmaker god. His story moves chronologically in an evening's frame, but it's also shot through with a series of gears and patterns, nibble-sized pieces, and odd bits of synchronicity that align in unexpected choruses. Gliding across it all, of course, is the electric, eccentric energy of James Brown. Scrapbookers, beware: this is more than simple homage. It's a work that stands independently, with one hell of a soundtrack to boot!
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Inspiring, but the detours were heavy-handed 6 Jun. 2005
By fml66 - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
A great short read about the live recording sessions that led to the creation of one of the seminal R&B albums. The writing is punchy, respectful, and never overwrought -- except for the glaring and jarring detours into the Cuban missile crisis. The episode is clearly relevant to the story, because the concert in question took place in roughly the same 24-hour time span that the crisis was unfolding, but while everyone in the Apollo that night may have had the crisis on their minds, the digressions into what the fighter planes and the decision makers were doing at exactly the same time that James Brown was wiping sweat off his brow as he switched gears and tore into another song are distracting and ultimately tell us little about why the crisis made the night charged. Wolk should have stuck to the performances and the music or else found a better way of weaving the crisis into the book.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
An "on the good foot" storytelling of a classic live recording 20 July 2007
By Siriam - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
A simple but effective running of the history, with comments on the individual recordings, of the songs that appear on James Browns first major album hit, "Live at the Apollo" recorded in October 1962 alongside the then occurring critical world event of the Cuban Missile Crisis, makes for an effective time capsule telling by Douglas Wolk of the making of this classic recording.

While the author veers towards the over stated at times (did the 1,500 in the audience based on the limited public news released really behave as they did based on the belief they could die in a week!) he does a much better job of nailing the history of James Brown. These include how he got to make this recording against his record company's indifference; his on balance limited hit record success to date offset by his constant touring of an all action performance, but most of all that what was on show here was one man's personal and stylistic interpretations of a suite of songs that covered black music across the 20s to the early 60s. Some songs had undergone numerous adaptations and recordings by others plus JB before the versions done here (the ripping of of other peoples songs seems almost to have been a lifelong JB hallmark). What was really being performed was an exercise where songs could only last for less than a minute to over ten minutes as JB backed by his ever tight band riding on their leaders moods and his reading of the audience emotions laid down one of the truly original live recordings made.

The fact that the LP was in popular demand for many months after to be played in full on R&B radio stations at a time when single hits were paramount was testament that something unique that connected with the black audiences of 1962/1963 had occurred and it was to be some time before JB reconnected in such a way again (and certainly never again with another live album, despite several attempts).

Wolk also does a very good expose of Brown's ego and resulting mis-treatment of all around him plus how the recording was not a true full recording from having to be adapted and edited from the true JB live revue show, which while visually spectacular would not have translated into such an effective audio format.

A story telling which is certainly "on the good foot" throughout.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
it's a history lesson you can dance to 4 Oct. 2004
By Vitamin X - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
the cuban missile crisis almost brought an end to life on earth as we know it. who saved the day? maybe it was j.f.k.... or maybe it was the number one soul brother james brown. douglass wolk makes a good case for the godfather of soul in this well-researched, compelling, funky good time book.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
More Fun to Just Listen to the Music! 8 April 2012
By Reckless Reader - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I like good music writing -- it can be as lyrical and inspiring as the music it is about, albeit in another art form -- but sometimes, some music defies the written word -- Volk has worked hard here and brings us lots of facts -- but James Brown on this record in particular defies the written word -- all you can say is that some yowling and howling is so other-worldly that you gotta hear it to get it -- thanks for this valiant attempt -- but I think that after all is said and done, maybe words are not much help when it comes to this particular transcendent experience....
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