Soul? I don’t know what soul this is about.

Former Russian ballet dancer Mura Dehn witnesses James Brown live:

His emphasis on ego breaks all bounds. He is like a newborn baby in tantrums to enforce his will… He leaves you astonished and awed because of the mark of genius and madness… The rest is a tremendous scream for something that he wants more and more of – and gets – and is ready to give his life in order to retain it forever… Soul? I don’t know what soul this is about. Nothing one could live on or remember when one goes away…. He is a mythological personage. What he asks for is love – boundless – which can never quite fill his craving. At the end of all that inspiration, talent, sorcery.”

“Maybe because it was repressed so long, it comes out in this boundless way – in strength and in complaint. That may be true, but theatrically speaking, a performer has to produce what our times demand – a monster personality to be sold for ‘phantabulous’ profits. James Brown is unprecedented. A man touched by divine power. He absorbs. He stuns. And yet you don’t feel enriched. You cannot live on what he reveals. You simply experience him, and he is fabulous.”

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