Happy Birthday James Brown: Live In Zaire 1974


Today marks what would have been pioneering musician James Brown’s 83rd birthday, who passed away on Christmas Day in 2006. The Godfather Of Soul revolutionized R&B, soul and funk music over the course of his lengthy career. The James Brown sound is undeniably funky and can be found on display in the video below featuring the celebrated performer in concert in 1974.

In late 1973 Brown released the acclaimed hit double LP The Payback, further establishing his place among the forefront of the funk-driven style he helped popularize. To coincide with the famed “Rumble In The Jungle” heavyweight championship boxing match held in Kinshasa, Zaire between George Foreman and Muhammad Ali in October 1974, the three-day Zaire 74 music festival that also saw the likes of Bill Withers, B.B. King and others, was held at the same venue in the weeks ahead of the fight.

Backed by his stellar band The J.B.’s – led by horn players Fred Wesley and Maceo Parker – Brown’s appearance at the festival can be seen in the video presented below. The clip includes footage from what’s now known as the Democratic Republic of the Congo of Brown singing “The Payback,” “Cold Sweat,” “Can’t Stand It,” “Soul Power,” “Try Me,” “Say It Loud, I’m Black And I’m Proud” and “Same Beat.” Watch highlights of the energetic concert here: