James McBride's Kill 'Em and Leave offers a nuanced portrait of the musical and cultural icon, James Brown, from the people who knew him best; McBride intertwines the stories of everyone from Brown's first wife in Augusta to the Rev. Al Sharpton with his own trials in uncovering the story behind the Godfather of Soul. The result is a humanist, clear-eyed examination of the musician, the man, and his decade-long estate case that penetrates the nation's unhealed racial and economic wounds. A vivid, blunt, and psychologically complex story of an oft-misunderstood man and his time, richer than any movie could portray.
Ray Robertson knows what he likes. He also knows how to pull the reader deep within what he likes, giving his words the same vibrant tones as the music and personalities they describe. Whether the artist he’s profiling is an acknowledged legend or barely even a cult figure, his passion for their work and their stories is overwhelming. And really, anyone who can bring the guitar tunes of Alan Wilson and Paul Siebel not only into my life but into such sharp focus has done a tremendous service.
How'd they fit the 'Orrible 'Oo in a book? The Who were nutters who played like nobody else: The singer was a rocker, then a mod, then a god who twirled his microphone like a tornado; the guitarist was the time-keeper, a big-nosed git who wrote rock operas and weirdo songs; the drummer played lead and was the Id personified on stage and off; all the while the bass player stood still playing chords around all three. They were loud, combative, hilarious, life-saving and glorious. They stood tall with the very best of rock and roll. This is their story.