Ramblin' Rhodes

Stroll down memory lane with music columnist Don Rhodes.

Ramblin' Rhodes: Williams to play new songs; Brown movie gets a title

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Popular country balladeer Don Williams will return to Augusta next week to perform at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 25, at Imperial Theatre.

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Don Williams performs during the 2012 All for the Hall concert to benefit the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. Williams will be at Imperial Theatre on Jan. 25.  FILE/ASSOCIATED PRESS
FILE/ASSOCIATED PRESS
Don Williams performs during the 2012 All for the Hall concert to benefit the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. Williams will be at Imperial Theatre on Jan. 25.

Tickets are $39, $49 and $67 from (706) 722-8341 or imperialtheatre.com.

He will be singing songs from his new CD Reflections due to be released on March 1 by Sugar Hill Records.

For several years, Williams took a recording break but returned last year with his CD And So It Goes.

His new CD was co-produced by Williams and Garth Fundis, with whom he recorded many of his hit songs.

Williams won the Country Music Association’s and Academy of Country Music’s Male Vocalist of the Year award five times each. He also has been inducted into the CMA Hall of Fame.

The Texas native got started in music performing with Lofton Kline as the Strangers Two duo. He and Kline joined Susan Taylor to form the Pozo Seco Singers in 1964 when all three were living in Corpus Christi, Texas.

Their success including hit singles on Columbia Records including Time (Where Did You Go?), I Can Make It With You and Look What You’ve Done before the trio disbanded in 1969.

Williams subsequently embarked on a solo career that resulted in a string of hit singles on ABC, Dot, MCA and Capitol Records.

Among those hits were Tulsa Time, I’m Just A Country Boy, Some Broken Hearts Never Mend, Till The Rivers All Run Dry, (Turn out The Light And) Love Me Tonight, Say It Again and I Wouldn’t Want To Live If You Didn’t Love Me. He also has been seen in several films including the 1975 Burt Reynolds’ movie W.W. and the Dixie Dancekings.

JAMES BROWN MOVIE BIOGRAPHY: Speaking of movies, more information is coming out about the film biography about former Augustan James Brown, who died Christmas 2006.

The movie is being filmed in Mississippi especially in and around Jackson and Natchez. News accounts say it will be called Get On Up and will be distributed by Universal Pictures in August.

Portraying JB is Chadwick Boseman, who starred as baseball legend Jackie Robinson in the movie 42.

Boseman and Brown have in common that they both were born in South Carolina; Boseman in Anderson and Brown in rural Barnwell County near Elko.

Also, Boseman loves boxing as did Brown, who boxed in matches in Augusta’s Bell Auditorium.

Several sources also have listed actors and actresses in the movie as being Dan Aykroyd playing Brown’s longtime New York City talent agent Ben Bart, Jill Scott as one of Brown’s wives, Viola Davis (who won an Oscar for her role in The Help) as Brown’s mother, Octavia Spencer (also of The Help) as one of Brown’s aunts, Lennie James as his father, Nelsan Ellis as Famous Flames co-founder Bobby Byrd and Tika Sumpter as Brown’s backup vocalist and lover Yvonne Fair.

Keith Robinson, who graduated from Augusta-area Lakeside High School, also is cast as Baby Roy, one of the members of Brown’s backup group The Famous Flames.

In the movie Dreamgirls, Robinson played C.C. White, the songwriting brother of ousted Dreamgirls trio singer Effie. Jennifer Hudson’s portrayal of Effie won her an Oscar.

Directing Get On Up is Tate Taylor, who also directed The Help. He is a native of Mississippi, which is one reason the entire movie, including scenes of France and Vietnam, is being filmed in that state. Another reason is a nice tax-break incentive created by the Mississippi government to lure movie-making money.

Co-producers of the film are Rolling Stones’ singer Mick Jagger along with Brian Grazer and Erica Huggins.

Filming began in November and is expected to go through this month.

There are some clues that seem to make it clear the direction this movie will be taking. The fact that two key roles are his mother (Susie Brown) and his backup vocalist/lover (Fair) indicates the movie is going to play up Brown’s childhood separation from his mother and his extramarital affairs.

According to books and other sources, Brown’s mother abandoned the family and moved to New York City when he was 5. But, as the author of the Brown biography Say It Loud: My Memories of James Brown, Soul Brother No. 1, I can tell you that just is not true according to those who were closest to him.

In truth, she didn’t abandon the family but fled the family when her husband, Joe Brown, who could get as violent as James himself, beat her up and threatened to kill her if she took their child away from him. She feared for her life, and that’s why she left the family.

It was Yamma and Deanna Brown’s mother, Deidre (Dee Dee), who close sources say reunited JB and his mother at New York City’s famed Apollo Theatre.

The movie being filmed in timeline is said to span “from his disadvantaged youth to his eventual superstardom, through 1993.”

Why 1993? I don’t know for sure, but I do know that is the year that JB’s father died in Augusta (July 10).

It also was the year (Nov. 20) that 5,000 people turned out on a cold day to see part of Ninth Street renamed James Brown Boulevard. Who was there other than JB? His mother, Susie, and his wife, Adrienne.

You can pretty much bet the movie will include Joe Brown’s death, but – knowing how the Ray Charles movie dissed Augusta – I would not be so certain you will see Augusta in the movie honoring JB with a street name. But then again, it certainly would be a great way to end the movie on a high point in JB’s life.


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