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Soul & R 'N B

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  1. 8.9 hrs • 6/13/2016 • Unabridged

    For the first time ever, the controversial and polarizing bad boy of R&B tells the raw and unvarnished story of his life from New Edition to Whitney and beyond. Bobby Brown has been one of the most compelling American artists of the past thirty years, a magnetic and talented figure who successfully crossed over many musical genres, including R&B and hip hop, as well as the mainstream. In the late 1980s, the former front man of New Edition had a wildly successful solo career—especially with the launch of Don’t Be Cruel—garnering multiple hits on the Billboard top ten list, as well as several Grammy, American Music, and Soul Train awards. But Brown put his career on hold to be with the woman he loved—American music royalty Whitney Houston. The marriage between Brown and Houston was perhaps the most closely watched and talked about marriage of the 1990s—a pairing that obsessed the public and the gossip industry. Now, for the first time, the world will be able to hear the truth from the mouth of America’s “bad boy” himself. Raw and powerful, Every Little Step is the story of a man who has been on the top of the mountain and in the depths of the valley and who is now finally ready to talk about his career and family life, from the passion and the excess to his creative inspirations and massive musical success. On the process of writing this book, Bobby says, “Right after I signed on to write my story, I went through one of the most agonizing traumas I had ever experienced with the death of my daughter. But I was surprised by how therapeutic it was to work on this project, to look at the entire arc of my life and to realize that although there has been considerable pain, I have also been incredibly blessed. I hope my fans and other readers of this book will be entertained by this trip into the crazy, exciting, fascinating world of Bobby Brown. And I hope they will feel that I have been as honest and open with them in these pages as I have tried to be my entire life.”

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    Every Little Step by Bobby Brown, Nick Chiles

    Every Little Step

    8.9 hrs • 6/13/16 • Unabridged
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  2. 9.0 hrs • 4/5/2016 • Unabridged

    National Book Award winner James McBride goes in search of the “real” James Brown—and his surprising journey illuminates the ways in which our cultural heritage has been shaped by Brown’s legacy. A product of the complicated history of the American South, James Brown was a cultural shape-shifter who arguably had the greatest influence of any artist on American popular music. Brown was long a figure of fascination for James McBride, a noted professional musician as well as a writer. When he received a tip that promised to uncover the man behind the myth, McBride set off to follow a trail that revealed the personal, musical, and societal influences that created this immensely troubled, misunderstood, and complicated soul genius. Kill ’Em and Leave is more than a book about James Brown. Brown’s rough-and-tumble life, through McBride’s lens, is an unsettling metaphor for American life: the tension between North and South, black and white, rich and poor. McBride’s travels take him to forgotten corners of Brown’s never-before-revealed history: the country town where Brown’s family and thousands of others were displaced by America’s largest nuclear power bomb-making facility; a South Carolina field where a long-forgotten cousin reveals, in the dead of night, a fuller history of Brown’s sharecropping childhood, which until now has been a mystery. McBride seeks out the American expatriate in England who cocreated the James Brown sound, visits the trusted right-hand manager who worked with Brown for forty-one years, and sits at the feet of Brown’s most influential nonmusical creation, his “adopted son,” the Reverend Al Sharpton. He reveals the stirring visit of Michael Jackson to the Augusta, Georgia, funeral home where the King of Pop sat up all night with the body of his musical godfather, spends hours talking with Brown’s first wife, and reveals the Dickensian legal contest over James Brown’s valuable estate, a fight that has destroyed careers, cheated children out of their educations, cost Brown’s estate millions in legal fees, sent Brown’s trusted accountant, David Cannon, to jail for a crime for which he was not convicted, and has left James Brown’s body to lie for more than eight years in a gilded coffin on his daughter’s front lawn in South Carolina. James McBride is one of the most distinctive and electric literary voices in America today, and Kill ’Em and Leave is a song unearthing and celebrating James Brown’s great legacy: the cultural landscape of America today.

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    Kill ’Em and Leave

    9.0 hrs • 4/5/16 • Unabridged
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  3. 10.8 hrs • 6/1/2015 • Unabridged

    When he died suddenly at the age of twenty-six, Otis Redding (1941-1967) had already become the conscience of a new kind of music. Sure, Berry Gordy might have built the first black-owned music empire at Motown, but Redding was doing something as historic: mainstreaming black music within the whitest bastions of the post-Confederate south. As a result, the Redding story—still largely untold—is one of great conquest but, sadly, grand tragedy. Now, in this transformative work, Mark Ribowsky contextualizes Redding’s life within the larger cultural movements of his era, whisking us from the “sinful” clubs of Macon to the trendsetting studios in Memphis and, finally, to the pulsating stage of the Monterey Music Festival where, in a single set, Redding immortalized himself as “soul legend.” What emerges in Dreams to Remember is not only a triumph of music history but also a reclamation of a visionary who would come to define an entire era.

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    Dreams to Remember

    10.8 hrs • 6/1/15 • Unabridged
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  4. 7.9 hrs • 1/29/2013 • Unabridged

    Honest and heartbreaking, a mother’s story of tears, joy, and her greatest love of all—her daughter, Whitney On the eve of the 2012 Grammy Awards, the world learned of a stunning tragedy: Whitney Houston, unquestionably one of the most remarkable and powerful voices in all of music, had been silenced forever. Over the weeks and months that followed, family, friends, and fans alike tried to understand how such a magnificent talent and beautiful soul could have been taken so early and so unexpectedly. Glamorous and approachable, captivating and sweet, Whitney had long ago won the hearts of America, but in recent years her tumultuous personal life had grabbed as many headlines as her soaring vocal talents. Her sudden death left behind not only a legacy of brilliance but also painful questions with no easy answers. Now, for the first time, the beloved superstar’s mother, Cissy Houston—a gospel legend in her own right—relates the full, astonishing scope of the pop icon’s life and career. From Whitney’s earliest days singing in the church choir to her rapid ascent to the pinnacles of music stardom, from her string of number one hits to her topping the Hollywood box office, Cissy recounts her daughter’s journey to becoming one of the most popular and successful artists of all time. Setting the record straight, Cissy also speaks candidly about Whitney’s struggles in the limelight, revealing the truth about her turbulent marriage to singer Bobby Brown, her public attempts to regain her celebrated voice, and the battle with drugs that ultimately proved too much. In this poignant and tender tribute to her “Nippy,” Cissy summons all her strength to reveal not only Whitney the superstar but also Whitney as a sweet girl, a bright-eyed young woman, and a deeply caring mother. Complete with never-before-seen family photographs, Remembering Whitney is an intimate, heartfelt portrait of one of our most revered artists, from the woman who cherished her most.

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    Remembering Whitney

    By Cissy Houston, with Lisa Dickey
    Read by Robin Miles
    7.9 hrs • 1/29/13 • Unabridged
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  5. 13.9 hrs • 11/21/2011 • Unabridged

    The Last Sultan is the definitive biography of a man who changed popular culture throughout the world. As the founder and head of Atlantic Records, Ahmet Ertegun signed and/or recorded many of the greatest musical artists of all time, among them Ruth Brown; Big Joe Turner; Ray Charles; Bobby Darin; Sonny and Cher; Eric Clapton; Buffalo Springfield; Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young; Led Zeppelin; the Rolling Stones; Bette Midler; and Kid Rock. Working alongside his older brother, Nesuhi, one of the preeminent jazz producers of all time, and the legendary Jerry Wexler, who produced great soul artists like Wilson Pickett, Solomon Burke, and Aretha Franklin, Ertegun transformed Atlantic Records from a small independent record label into a hugely profitable multinational corporation. In successive generations, he also served as a mentor to record-business tyros like Phil Spector, David Geffen, and Lyor Cohen. Brilliant, cultured, and irreverent, Ertegun was as renowned for his incredible sense of personal style and nonstop A-list social life as he was for his work in the studio. Born into great privilege as the son of a high-ranking Turkish diplomat during the last days of the Ottoman Empire, Ertegun spent his life bringing the black-roots music he loved to the world. A larger-than-life figure, always hip, Ertegun lived in the grand manner but was never happier than when he found himself in some down-and-out joint listening to music late at night. Blessed with impeccable taste and brilliant business acumen, he brought rock ’n’ roll into the mainstream while creating the music that became the soundtrack for the lives of multiple generations. With supporting characters like Steve Ross, Henry Kissinger, Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Jann Wenner, and a host of others, The Last Sultan is the fascinating story of a man who always lived by his own rules.

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    The Last Sultan

    13.9 hrs • 11/21/11 • Unabridged
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  6. 13.4 hrs • 3/1/2005 • Unabridged

    Ray Charles (1930–2004) led one of the most extraordinary lives of any popular musician. In Brother Ray, he reveals his life story unsparingly, from the chronicle of his musical development to his heroin addiction to his tangled romantic life. Overcoming poverty, blindness, the loss of his parents, and the pervasive racism of the era, Ray Charles was acclaimed worldwide as a genius by the age of thirty-two. By combining the influences of gospel, jazz, blues, and country music, he invented, almost single-handedly, what became known as “soul.” And throughout a career spanning more than a half century, Ray Charles remained in complete control of his life and his music, allowing nobody to tell him what he could or couldn’t do.

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    Brother Ray by Ray Charles, David Ritz

    Brother Ray

    13.4 hrs • 3/1/05 • Unabridged
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  7. 1.2 hrs • 11/13/2002 • Unabridged

    Ashanti, bestselling recording artist, stormed the pop charts with her debut album Ashanti, going all the way to #1 and staying there for ten weeks, garnering legions of loyal fans, and earning her the nickname the “Princess of Hip Hop.” In Foolish/Unfoolish, Ashanti explores the same themes that make her music so real for her fans—stories of falling head-over-heels in love, becoming broken-hearted or insanely jealous, getting over it, and loving life. Spirited, moving, and filled with Ashanti’s unique sense of humor, this collection of poetry and reflections will entertain and surprise as it offers an intimate look into the life of one of today’s most popular performers.

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    Foolish/Unfoolish

    1.2 hrs • 11/13/02 • Unabridged
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