The Deal: Three-DVD set shot in the '60s captures the essence of the Godfather of Soul.
The Good: It was 1968 and, at 35, James Brown was at the height of his powers. In later years, Brown was so wrapped up in funk that he did little vocally but grunt and scream, but earlier in his career, he was quite a crooner. He's shown doing a frenzied version of "That's Life" that would have given Frank Sinatra a heart attack trying to duplicate it. But his showpiece is "It's A Man's World," where you get the best of both worlds – Brown's unearthly, stratospheric screams and velvety lower register vocals. Then there are the moves – done so fast you could barely follow them, his feet just a blur of motion, then he'd be all the way across the stage, propelling himself on one foot, the world's funkiest stork. He was dressed up too. Not that frumpy, lime green unisex spandex jumpsuit/panty-hose monstrosity he started wearing in the '80s, but sharp suits, sport coats. It's all captured up close here, the camera at times so tight on his face you can see his pores desperately pumping out sweat, trying, to no avail, to cool down the sex machine. One disc captures his show at the Apollo in '68, the other two cover his show at the Boston Garden the same year, the night after Martin Luther King was shot. There's also the Tami show performance in 1964 which introduced Brown's screaming stork antics to white audiences. You can see the blood stains on his knees where he's hit the concrete floor with full knee drops over and over.
The Bad: That he's not still around to give us more.
The Verdict: The bonus performances from Paris are as good as rest of the clips. This is a time capsule you'll treasure for the rest of your life and be proud to pass on. Godspeed, godfather – keep up the good work, wherever you are ...