This is an entertaining book by a guitar player who gets called up to play for James Brown’s band the Soul Generals at a moment’s notice halfway around the world. Damon Wood goes on to chronicle what it’s like to play as a side man for “the hardest working man in show business” for the next 6 years. The good, the bad, and the not so great times of traveling with a large group of musicians, much of the time on a band bus. There were other times spent hustling onto planes to rush to buses then to a venue to barely have time for a sound check, then back to a hotel. to grab a quick shower and iron your costume for the show and relax a bit before going on. But when the music was good it would make you forget all of that stress, especially when James Brown was happy and showing it. When he’d point to you and have you do a solo and you’d hit it just right and make him proud. Nothing could top that feeling, ever.

James Brown was also notorious as a boss at times, and not in a good way. If he were in a particularly bad mood for some reason, he could fire the whole band. But Damon endured, grew as an artist, and he learned a lot in his years there, and he made a lot of friends among the other Soul Generals members.  This is a good read for fans of James Brown,  and those who like music memoirs.  An advance digital copy was provided by NetGalley and author Damon Wood for my unbiased review.

ECW Press        Publication:  May 1st, 2018

One thought on “Working for the Man, Playing in the Band: My Years with James Brown

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