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Books

You Can Feel the Venue's Heartbeat on Every Page of 'Showtime at the Apollo'

How do we measure the status of a performer's Holy Grail like the Apollo Theater in 2019? Ted Fox and James Otis Smith's beautifully realized, updated graphic history brings this rich history to life.

Recent
Interviews

You Say You Want A Revolution: André Cymone Talks Merging Poetic, Personal

After a 25-plus-year hiatus, Anqdré Cymone has begun speaking his mind. In so doing, he's providing a much-needed missive about the state of the world.

Music

Various Artists: Afterschool Special: The 123s of Kid Soul

A collection of kids, pushed by parents or teachers or by their own dreams of pop stardom, aspire to follow in the path of the Jacksons.

Music

KaiL Baxley: A Light That Never Dies

Baxley clearly commands the groove and there’s no reason to think that further triumphs aren’t left to come.

Film

Everybody 'Get on Up' and #SayItLoud This Thursday at 4pm EST on @PopMatters Twitter

Stay tuned to the @PopMatters Twitter tomorrow at 4.00 pm EST as we do a live Twitter session about James Brown and the new biopic celebrating his career, Get on Up. We will be handing out prizes, including $100 iTunes cards.

Film

#SayItLoud: Five Career Highlights of James Brown

PopMatters looks back on some of the standout moments from the Godfather of Soul, from his work in film to his identity as a "sex machine".

Sports

Music Is Vital to the Sports Fan Experience, But Which Traditions Are Worth Keeping Around?

There’s a lot of noise at the average sporting event. Study this list to learn when to break out the earplugs.

Music

The Album Remains the Same: Led Zeppelin - "The Crunge"

For many, "The Crunge" commences a three-song sequence that makes Houses of the Holy a scattershot mess. We think it's right about when the fun kicks in.

Music

Maceo Parker: Soul Classics

At nearly 70 years old, Maceo Parker can still bring the funk and this live set is the best example of exactly how versatile James Brown's former saxophone player can be.

Music

That Thing That Makes Funk Funky: 'The One: The Life and Music of James Brown'

James Brown – an untrained musician, mind you, operating on not much more than feel, instinct and desire – revolutionized black pop music, setting off depth charges that would still be exploding a decade hence.

Music

Lee Fields & The Expressions: Faithful Man

Soul Man Lee Fields continues to show his allegiance to classic R&B.

Music

James Brown: The Singles Volume 11: 1979-1981

If you're looking for the Godfather singing disco, country, and a jawdropping 11-minute ode to cakes, this is the comp for you.

Josh Langhoff
Music

Counterbalance: Year One

In this special one-year anniversary edition of Counterbalance, Eric Klinger and Jason Mendelsohn discuss their first year combing through the pop music canon (as determined by Acclaimed Music's calculations of every best-of list available), share a few favorites, and justify a couple items on their expense account.

Music

Counterbalance No. 40: James Brown’s 'Live at the Apollo'

Counterbalance tackles the Hardest Working Man in Show Business as James Brown's Live at the Apollo clocks in at number 40 on the list of the most acclaimed albums of all time. As it turns out he’s freakishly strong and slightly slippery. It’s Star Time!

Music

Various Artists: Those Shocking, Shaking Days

This compilation is a vibrant celebration of rebellious sound displaying the glut of funky, resonant music coming out of Indonesia during the fertile and tense '70s.

Books

King of the Queen City: The Story of King Records by Jon Hartley Fox

The story of dozens of artists great and small, and the record label that helped define both R&B and country music in the '40s, '50s and '60s.

Music

Various Artists: Protected Massive Samples

Massive Attack is opened up, and its insides are revealed to be made of muzak and precious stones.

Music

Old Skewl B.S. aka Morality Police Bite

Artists continually suffer for refusing to bow to the morality police. Yet, like this Kentuckian, we are all Unbridled Spirits, refusing to conceit to itty bitty morality pity. It’s a shame that one has to chant louder, write faster, read quicker, exercise harder, know more and listen with more compassion, isn’t it? Naw, that’s just old skewl.

Music

Hot Buttered Soul: Politics and Pop Culture Are Really One

When change is upon us and we need media most, more and more traditional media outlets will simply pick up and disseminate what fewer and fewer folks have placed on the corporate-filtered news wire. Luckily, my new White House friend is as funky as you wanna be.

Reviews

James Brown: Double Dynamite

James Brown: Double Dynamite isn't in the extras, it's in the music. It's in the man.

Reviews

I Got the Feelin': James Brown in the '60s

At the time of Dr. King's murder, with America's racial and existential crises at a peak, Brown's music was itself a crisis, always on call.

Television

Banished: American Ethnic Cleansings

The question of cause and effect is crucial, not only to Banished, but also to the black and white communities who live today with the legacy of banishing.

Music

James Brown: The Singles, Volume 3: 1964-1965

Hip-O Select's limited edition series rolls on by documenting an overwhelming awkward period in Brown's otherwise superhuman ascension into R&B's uncharted places.

Reviews

In Memoriam: James Brown

It’s a mistake to compare James Brown (or anyone else, for that matter) as a showman at 70 to what he was like at 40, 30, and 25. But, until the last, Soul Brother #1 still brought the funk.

Matt Rogers
Music

Soul Power

Though James Brown's body was lying in state at the Apollo Theater, on the streets of Harlem, his spirit seemed to be everywhere.

William Glasspiegel
Music

The Last Soul Brother: James Brown (1933-2006)

The humanity of the man -- with its funky and messy flaws and frailties -- could never sustain the myth, so much so that the image of the man who gave Black Power its soundtrack became a harsh reminder of its fractured legacy.

Mark Anthony Neal
Reviews

Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel

Real Sports is, hands down, the best hour of investigative journalism currently on the air.

Bill Gibron
Music

James Brown: Live at the Apollo (1962) [Expanded Edition]

Live at the Apollo finds James Brown growing into his future mantle as the Godfather of Soul and ably joined by his inimitable backing band the Flames to create a 40-minute sonic hallelujah.

Jason Korenkiewicz
Reviews

James Brown

Matt Rogers
Music

James Brown: Soul on Top

James Brown fans: you're in for a real treat with Soul on Top. It's been unavailable on compact disc since its original vinyl release, and the reissue sounds fantastic.

Zeth Lundy
Film

Undercover Brother (2002)

Peppered with Chappellian hilarities (and the man can riff), it is more like Austin Powers than a hard-hitting satire, minus Mike Meyers' mania, plus Lee's deft direction and Griffin's own brand of energy.

Cynthia Fuchs
Reviews
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