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SOUNDS GOOD: DYNAMO OF SOUL

If it's "Mr. Dynamite," "The Hardest Working Man in Show Business" or the overused label "Godfather of Soul," it can only mean one person - the great James Brown.

The master foot-shuffler will make a rare appearance in Salt Lake City at the Upper Country Music Hall, 2485 S. Main, Friday, Aug. 11. Doors open about 7 p.m., and the show will begin approximately at 9."Salt Lake City is one of the most beautiful places I've ever been," Brown told the Deseret News during a telephone interview from Georgia. "It's a great vacation spot, and it's a very special place."

Salt Lake City will be the first stop on the U.S. portion of his tour, said Brown, who just completed a tour in Europe and parts of Asia.

"We reached over 560,000 people from Belgium, London and Spain," he said in his energetic rasp. "We got a call from the Kremlin requesting us to play later this year, so my publicists are trying to get that taken care of. Man, I tell you, everyone wants a piece of me."

Though his age and experience would make him a grandfatherly figure to such soul and pop acts as Boyz II Men, the Notorious B.I.G., Michael Jackson and the very young Jason Weaver, Brown - who was himself influenced mainly by songwriter/performer Louis Jordan - has described himself in the past as "One of America's two teenagers - the other being Dick Clark."

"I never thought I'd get to where I am today," he laughed. "In fact, I was suppose to be born dead. But thanks to loving family members, I survived to live a wonderful life. I thank God I'm here."

When he was young, Brown spent his time in sports. He played football and baseball before giving his voice the opportunity to "shout."

In 1952, after serving a three-year prison sentence for theft, Brown formed the Flames.

The band covered the Orioles and other notable R & B artists of the day. In fact, it was the Orioles' tune "Baby, Please Don't Go" (with its repeated-chant of "please") that inspired him to pen his first hit, "Please, Please, Please."

While the Flames toured around Georgia, the group caught the ear of one incredibly hyper and flamboyant piano-puncher named Little Richard. Richard's manager, Clint Brantly, slapped the word "Famous" at the beginning of the Flames name.

On Feb. 4, 1956, the Famous Flames stepped into a studio to record a record of "Please, Please, Please." Since Brown had no formal music training, his style confused the label's owner and musical director. And after numerous failed attempts to begin recording, the owner - Syd Nathan - walked out.

Brown turned to music director Gene Redd and explained the style. Redd, in turn, explained the style to Nathan. After a shouting match, "Please, Please, Please" was recorded that night and released one month later. It reached No. 6 on Billboard's R & B chart and sold 1 million copies.

Other releases followed. But it wasn't until 1965 that Brown got the break he really deserved.

That year, "(I Got You) I Feel Good" shot up to No. 3 on the pop charts and certified Brown as a major artist. (Earlier that year, "Papa's Got a Brand New Bag, Part 1" peaked on the pop chart at No. 8).

Brown's 1963 album "Live at the Apollo" reached No. 2 on the album charts, and he has since made numerous appearances in movies - two being "The Blues Brothers" (1980) and "Rocky IV" (1985) - and TV specials.

A bout with the law landed Brown in prison for traffic violations and resisting arrest in 1988, and the dynamic one served three of his six-year sentence before being transferred to a work-release program for a community action commission for Aiken, S.C.

While some artists would lose a little respectability after an experience like that, Brown seemed to flourish. In 1991, the year he was officially released from prison, his four-CD box set, "Star Time," was also released to critics' raves. And in 1993, Ninth Street in Augusta, Ga., was renamed "James Brown Boulevard."

Although he's become a legend in his own time, Brown said his main job is dedicated to serving people.

"It's not really a job anymore," he chuckled. "My music has become a duty and I must treat it differently. The music I do, especially today, is designed to serve and benefit others. It's the type of music that shows respect to others, and if I can say something to the young people and rappers out there, it's just that - respect your mothers. It's fine to speak of problems in the world. I just wish they'd use another language."

Although Brown has about 80 documented albums to his credit - more than 100 are out there somewhere, he said - earlier this year, Brown returned to the Apollo Theater and released "Live at the Apollo 1995," a collection featuring his best tunes from the past five decades.

The explosive energy and the trademark shuffle are alive, well and kicking. Everything from "Please Please Please" to "(I Got You) I Feel Good" to "Livin' In America" and "Papa's Got a Brand New Bag" appear in their entirety.

"The album actually tells a story," Brown said. "It tells the autobiography of James Brown. I was very fortunate to work with people who knew what they were doing and they caught the energy of the show."