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SoundTRAX: "Get On Up: The James Brown Story"

 Chadwick Boseman is pictured performing as James Brown.
Universal Music
Universal Pictures

SoundTRAX is a dive into notable music from iconic films and TV shows every Monday-Thursday at 8:10.

On this day in 2014 Get On Up: The James Brown Story hit theaters, which makes for a marvelous excuse to feature some music from "The Hardest Working Man in Showbiz!"

The film covers the good, the bad, and the ugly of James Brown's life and career, both of which involved a lot of bad behavior, which has been well-documented over the years.

But there's no one denying the fact that James Brown was a brilliant entertainer, bringing a cocky swagger and bravado to every performance. Who didn't get a kick out of his famed "cape" routine?

Brown would pretend to be overcome by emotion and fall to his knees, then he'd be covered in a cape and led off the stage by longtime assistant Danny Ray— only to throw it off and run back to the microphone, much to the delight of the audience.

But who on earth could play the larger than life Brown onscreen?

The producers made the right choice with the late, great Chadwick Boseman. It doesn't even matter that he lip-synchs to Brown's classics. It's a dynamic performance and he's perfectly cast.

In addition to impressive co-stars Viola Davis, Octavia Spencer, and Dan Aykroyd, there are also memorable appearances by musicians like Jill Scott, Aloe Blacc and The Roots' Black Thought (Tariq Trotter).

The soundtrack features not only multiple live performances from "The Godfather of Soul," but also new arrangements of Brown classics by production duo The Underdogs.

But there is no James Brown like live James Brown, so today's SoundTRAX selection from Get On Up is James Brown with "Get Up I Feel Like Being a Sex Machine."

Mel is the WFPK morning host. Email Mel at mfisher@lpm.org.

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