The sheer brilliance and theatricality of James Brown’s live show is captured in an extended medley performance now available on the official YouTube page of The Ed Sullivan Show.
In the clip, from the edition of October 30, 1966, the Godfather of Soul is seen with members of his band – including the ever-present Bobby Byrd – delivering a fast-paced, super-slick workout of some of his biggest hits to that point. He begins with a double-speed “I Got You (I Feel Good),” on which Mr. Brown shows his almost impossibly nimble footwork, before he moves almost immediately into “Papa’s Got A Brand New Bag.” He then offers the ballad “Prisoner Of Love.”
As he falls to his knees in an impassioned “Please, Please, Please,” the band recognize the cue to cover him with his cape – or at least to try, as he shrugs it off as ever, and starts singing again, before the process is repeated, this time with an even more garish red mantle. He finishes by calling in “Night Train,” and exiting to the back of the stage with another quite incredible display of balance and agility.
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