Friday, July 24, 2009

Soul Power : Zaire 74' With James Brown

This concert footage from over 30 years ago is not just a great look at the performers but also a time capsule from the 70's. Some of the electronics are funner looking then the fashion. This festival was going to be a part of the "The Rumble in the Jungle," the 1974 heavyweight championship fight between Muhammad Ali and George Foreman in Kinshasa, Zaire. The fight was postponed but the concert went on as planed. This was the first trip to Africa for most of the musicians and was coined many times as "a home coming" When they say "Soul Power" its no joke with acts like Bill Withers, The Spinners, and The Crusaders. Then the heavyweight's James Brown in all his glory, and B.B. King noticing all "the beautiful Ladies" as he comes off the plane. Ali has a definite presence in this film, even poking fun at himself by getting into the ring with front man for the spinners Philippe Wynne. African artiest came out in force OK Jazz, fronted by Franco, Orchestre Afrisa with Rochereau and Makeba doing her classic "The Click Song." Celia Cruz was a highlight seeing her dressed to kill. Then Big Black's conga drum solo with the camera so close one can see him sweet. The music was fun but this film also went out into the streets to cover some of the people of Zaire. Don King, Ali, and the rest made a point to say that all blacks are brothers and deserve more freedom here in the us and around the world. With a special message from the godfather of soul himself at the end after the credits.

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