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National Book Award winner James McBride goes in search of the “real” James Brown after receiving a tip that promises to uncover the man behind the myth His surprising journey illuminates not only our understanding of this immensely troubled misunderstood and complicated soul genius but the ways in which our cultural heritage has been shaped by Brown’s legacy   Kill ’Em and Leave is than a book about James Brown Brown’s rough and tumble life through McBride’s lens is an unsettling metaphor for American life the tension between North and South black and white rich and poor McBride’s travels take him to forgotten corners of Brown’s never before revealed history the country town where Brown’s family and thousands of others were displaced by America’s largest nuclear power bomb making facility; a South Carolina field where a long forgotten cousin recounts in the dead of night a fuller history of Brown’s sharecropping childhood which until now has been a mystery McBride seeks out the American expat This book is not a balanced unbiased chronological acco

Free read è PDF, eBook or Kindle ePUB free ´ James McBride

Kill 'Em and Leave

Through McBride’s own insights as a black musician with Southern roots  Kill ’Em and Leave is a song unearthing and celebrating James Brown’s great legacy the cultural landscape of America todayPraise for Kill ’Em and Leave “The definitive look at one of the greatest most important entertainers The Godfather Da Number One Soul Brother Mr Please Please Himself JAMES BROWN” Spike Lee “ Please please please Can anybody tell us who and what was James Brown? At last the real deal James McBride on James Brown is the matchup we’ve been waiting for a musician who came up hard in Brooklyn with JB hooks lodged in his brain a monster ear for the truth and the chops to write it This is no celeb bio but a compelling personal uest so very timely angry hilarious and as irresistible as any James Brown beat” Gerri Hirshey author of Nowhere to Run The Story of Soul Music “An unconventional and fascinating portrait of Soul Brother No 1 and the significance of his rise and fall in American culture” Kirkus Review A very fitting title for this book The author James McB

James McBride ´ 5 Summary

Riate in England who co created the James Brown sound visits the trusted right hand manager who worked with Brown for forty one years and interviews Brown’s most influential nonmusical creation his “adopted son” the Reverend Al Sharpton He describes the stirring visit of Michael Jackson to the Augusta Georgia funeral home where the King of Pop sat up all night with the body of his musical godfather spends hours talking with Brown’s first wife and lays bare the Dickensian legal contest over James Brown’s estate a fight that has consumed careers; prevented any money from reaching the poor schoolchildren in Georgia and South Carolina as instructed in his will; cost Brown’s estate millions in legal fees; and left James Brown’s body to lie for than eight years in a gilded coffin in his daughter’s yard in South Carolina   James McBride is one of the most distinctive and electric literary voices in America today and part of the pleasure of his narrative is being in his presence coming to understand Brown First things first James McBride wrote an excellent exc Plague Harvest years and interviews Brown’s most influential nonmusical creation his “adopted son” the Reverend Al Sharpton He describes the stirring visit of Michael Jackson to the Augusta Georgia funeral home where the King of Pop sat up all night with the body of his musical godfather spends hours talking with Brown’s first wife and lays bare the Dickensian legal contest over James Brown’s estate a fight that has consumed careers; prevented any money from reaching the poor schoolchildren in Georgia and South Carolina as instructed in his will; cost Brown’s estate millions in legal fees; and left James Brown’s body to lie for than eight How Not to F*** Them Up years in a gilded coffin in his daughter’s Darkland yard in South Carolina   James McBride is one of the most distinctive and electric literary voices in America today and part of the pleasure of his narrative is being in his presence coming to understand Brown First things first James McBride wrote an excellent exc


10 thoughts on “Kill 'Em and Leave

  1. says:

    Kill ‘Em and Leave Searching for James Brown and the American Soul by James McBride is a 2016 Spiegel Grau publication I always liked James Brown His music his showmanship and the way he often found himself stepping in to keep the peace and his promotion of education While I know the same facts about James that anyone else knows I’ve never read any books or watched any movies based on his life So when this book was recommended to me I was very eager to learn something comprehensive about ‘The Godfather of Soul’Musical biographies often walk on a fine line with too much of one thing but not enough of another It depends on the author as to which approach to take and while I was in the mood for a very detailed portrait of James Brown the author took a different tack but it was in its way kind of refreshing The author didn’t attempt to gloss over sugarcoat or make excuses for James’ darker side revealing the performers crimes his penchant for being difficult his mistreatment of women his numerous marriages his drug use and various other ways he was unpredictable or contradictory Yet the author’s goal seemed to be focused on how James was remembered the battles he won the ones he lost and the incredible mess his estate turned into once his will was discovered We learn who James really trusted who were the people closest to him and who stuck by him all his life and this is as much their story as it is Brown's or McBride’s in many ways The author also takes a look at the racial climate and atmosphere James was raised up in and the way this environment influenced him This part of the book I think is supposed to help explain why James felt like he did what shaped his attitude and prompted him to act or react the way he did during his adult life But the author’s spirit also penetrates the book which under any other circumstance might be considered a biography faux pas but in this case it actually creates a dual look at James Brown Not only do we get personal reflections from the people McBride interviewed but we see the how the information seeps into the author’s soul and the obvious effect writing this book must have had on himI wouldn’t say this approach is one everyone will appreciate and I don’t know if would work with any other subject or author but I thought it was a nice touch and made the journey appear personal Still at the end of the day I’m not sure if I really got that intimate portrait the author was going for I do think I understand James Brown a little better but his vital spirit or essence just didn’t bleed through despite the personal tones employed This was not exactly the type of biography I was hoping for but was one that gave me deeper insight into the man behind the electric voice and performances that set the world on fire If you are an aficionado and already know all the facts about the man his music songs and all the rest then this is a book you will want to add in order to get a deeper understanding of James’ roots If like me you are a fan liked his music and enjoyed his amazing on stage presence and showmanship but didn’t know a lot about him otherwise this might not be the best book to give you that in depth look at his recordings his political work the inner workings of his relationships with wives and children or a closer inspection of his addictions and events leading to his prison terms However once you have gained than a basic knowledge about Brown I think this personal assessment will take on deeper meaning Overall this is a fresh approach to examining James Brown’s life and is an enjoyable journey which has increased by my curiosity about the private performer Thanks to McBride I know which places I should perhaps avoid in my search for accurate information which will be very helpful I’m stalling just a bit here not sure of how I want to rate this one I keep waffling between a three and a four star rating so for my personal record 35 stars will have to suffice


  2. says:

    It looks like McBride did his interviews for this book about music phenom James Brown in 2012 long before this book was published in 2016 In the Foreword McBride crankily reveals he was being taken to the cleaners in a divorce settlement and he needed to write this book— any book—to bring in a little money Any flaws this book contains then become perfectly understandable and McBride keeps up that level of honesty and casual explanation all the way through This is no stilted celebrity biography covering well trod ground This is down home and personal comfortable conversations with the men they were mostly men and women who knew most about James Brown and his life At the end of his story McBride highlights the 62 year old grandmother journalist Sue Summer who writing for the financially strapped Newberry Observer in South Carolina has kept in the public eye the disgraceful carnage made of James Brown’s 100 million estate Brown’s will stipulated the bulk of his estate should go to educate poor children in Georgia and South Carolina the states where he grew up but within days of his death on Christmas Day in 2006 his family had arrayed a bevy of lawyers to contest the will citing ‘undue influence’That ‘influence’ would have been the South Carolina lawyer David Cannon who had been hired by Brown to extricate him from IRS charges of underpayments Cannon and Buddy Dallas a Georgia lawyer were white men who had never worked for a black boss before They brought Brown back from destitution when his act suffered the toll performers experience when they age and when the IRS realized they’d been robbed They set up what they’d thought was an unbreakable trust serving poor children and then suffered personal attacks and rake backs as the trust was contested James Brown played a role in McBride’s youth—in every young black man’s youth is McBride’s contention—being a role model and human divinity of soul His concerts and records made a difference in how the world turned The 1960’s 70’s were the height of his popularity but he made a mark that lasted to his death and McBride argues will long after “Kill ‘em and leave” Brown exhorted the younger men he mentored Don’t hang around after a concert for folks to pick your carcass clean Make ‘em waitMcBride spins his story out slowly the way he collected it through innumerable interviews with band members and managers friends and family He is conversational and not cruel when he tells us the plain facts of James Brown’s lonely upbringing early incarceration exceptional singing talent and enormous drive Brown never wanted to be hungry or lonely or dependent ever again especially to the white man who he fearedThere was a moment near the end of McBride’s story about Brown that widened out for me into a real down home truth we all learn eventually “there’s talent everywhere” “I remember having lunch years ago with a legendary record executive in LA bending his ear about a great unsigned singer I knew The guy listened nodded yawned reached for his triple decker sandwich and took a bite ‘Great singers’ he said between chews ‘are a dime a dozen’”That’s right That’s right for every field If they don’t have ‘em they’ll make ‘em But importantly and listen to this those executives—they aren’t so special either They do a job but somehow we’ve allowed them to capture an unnatural percentage of the take They have nothing without the talent and the rest of the organization but you wouldn’t know it talking to them But there is a truth in that it takes than talent to be a great star if that is where you are aiming It takes determination than talentBrown had determination He wanted to present his best side to the world so no one would have cause to put him down After shows he would sit through 3 hours of treatment under the hair dryer to get his pompadour back in shapeand then he would leave without seeing the fans waiting for him Kill ‘em and leaveI loved the way McBride told this story mixing a little of himself in there He’d gone to Columbia Journalism School in 1980 so was undoubtedly aware that the reporter should scrupulously keep himself out of the story But his ease with the scene and his knowledge of the backstory his understanding of the silences between uestions and his sense of the real meaning of James Brown gave us the mystery of the man and a deep sense of his place in pantheon of black culture I loved hearing the familiar names Rev Al Sharpton and Michael Jackson among them and seeing how they fit in this pictureIt’s a comfortable unstrained telling of a difficult life built on success Race is everywhere in this book though it is rarely mentioned The fact of America’s race situation both made James Brown who he was as a performer but it constrained him as a human being McBride gives us that shows us how that was A book by McBride is cause for celebration no matter that the editing was a little off or he repeated sections This is a story you won’t want to miss


  3. says:

    This book is not a balanced unbiased chronological account of James Brown’s life and musical career It is however an impassioned sometimes meandering defense of a music legend and his complicated legacy which for my money makes it much interesting than a straightforward biographyJames McBride clearly has a lot of love for James Brown and I could appreciate his point of view without being entirely won over McBride doesn’t go into much detail about some of Brown’s personal struggles glossing over or excusing them in favor of extolling his showmanship and lamenting his misfortunes I’m not uick to brush off things like domestic violence and rape accusations so I remain skeptical as to Brown’s true level of virtue but I can readily agree that he was a cultural icon and often a misunderstood one I chose the audio version and really enjoyed the narrator’s impression of Brown’s raspy Southern drawl Since I’m not familiar with much of Brown’s music which fact I intend to rectify the narration made him real to me Kill ‘Em and Leave is as much about McBride as it is about Brown and that’s not a bad thing I’m a big McBride fan and I jump at every opportunity to talk about the time I saw him perform live with his band as part of The Good Lord Bird book tour He’s a musician as much as he is a writer and as such he’s the perfect person to tell Brown’s story Or at least one very interesting side of itMore book recommendations by me at wwwreadingwithhipposcom


  4. says:

    35 starsSee me talk about this briefly in my May wrap up


  5. says:

    First things first James McBride wrote an excellent excellent memoir called The Color of Water Go read itSecond don't expect a traditional biography when you open Kill 'Em and Leave Authors of biographies concern themselves with facts typically in chronological order That's not to say McBride isn't interested in the truth about James Brown; this book features input from many people involved in Brown's inner circle and some on the fringes musicians money men friends and family How McBride presents what truth he finds happens in a narrative that's personal and evokes an almost spiritual journeyExplaining James Brown euates one could argue to trying to explain what Jesus actually looked like Different versions of the Brown storylegend exist because as we see in McBride's book it's how Brown wanted it For a man who enjoyed the spotlight he craved the mystery and privacy just as much The title of this book comes from advice Brown was fond of giving and sticking to knock their socks off and go Kill 'em and leave As McBride writes James Brown's status was there wasn't no A list He was the list Watch any clip of him on YouTube and try to argueMcBride's narrative reminded me in part of Citizen Kane and Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil in the respect that you have a person searching for story looking for an answer What was Rosebud? Who was the real James Brown? and in the process you come across a variety of people whose interpretations not only magnify the legacy of the subject but make them people you want to know better McBride talks to the last surviving member of The Flames Brown's early group his first wife Velma the man who helped save Brown from the IRS surrogate son Al Sharpton and Miss Emma a devoted friend for decades Their stories are raw and engaging and bring pieces of Brown's life together like a puzzle we're amazed to see at the end It's than a story about one the great soul singers it's a history of black music and a social commentary about how we treat people and how we revere some after deathand how greed makes us blind to the need of others The story of James Brown after his death the multiple funerals the fight over his estate the midnight visit from Michael Jackson would make one hell of a movie on it ownThis is a book that will stay with you It's awesome Just read itARC received from NetGalley


  6. says:

    James Brown was an excellent performer He was meticulous and methodical when it came to rehearsals It sounds like he demanded much of his musicians but didn't always pay them what was fair McBride speaks to people that were in Brown's inner circle but these people don't always talk about Brown So we never get a full picture of Brown as manager friend father We don't get too much of a picture of him as the man on the stage which is how Brown wanted it kill'em and leave I found the anecdotes about life on the road and the history of RB interesting But this isn't a long book and parts of it felt repetitive which made me think the source material was sparse


  7. says:

    National Book Award winner James McBride goes on a Citizen Kane like search for the real James Brown and muses about race identity music the northsouth divide and whether one can ever TRULY know someone With interviews with distant cousins ex wives life long childhood best friends former managers and accountants and former band members KILL 'EM AND LEAVE is a non chronological journey into James Brown that bears a strong similarity to David and Joe Henry's FURIOUS COOL RICHARD PRYOR AND THE WORLD THAT MADE HIMAn utterly fascinating read


  8. says:

    Super fascinating could possibly have been a longform essay


  9. says:

    A very fitting title for this book The author James McBride had to make a trip to the American South to learn about one of the world's greatest entertainers from the people who actually knew him Because of James Brown's philosophy of kill 'em and leave I don't think the world ever got a chance to see the man outside of his genuis So McBride tries to bring to us a realistic view of the man which ends up being a sad story I enjoyed the format and the story telling this is not a typical biography of any sort There aren't a bunch of dates or important names being thrown at you but what you get are the people who actually meant something to the man


  10. says:

    FANTASTIC BOOK Less a straight line music biography of Mr James Brown of a thoughtful attempt at understanding some of the socio cultural forces that shaped a complicated man I just finished the book and I am about to read it again it is that good