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Monday, July 19, 2010

Movie Review: Soul Power *Zaire 74*

   When We Were Kings is a 1996 documentary about the "Rumble in the Jungle," the 1974 heavy weight title fight between Muhammad Ali and George Foreman in Zaire.  As it turns out, there was a big music festival held at the same time.  It was called Zaire '74: the headliner was James Brown.  Other performers included B.B. King, Bill Withers as well as some stand out numbers from African artists  Miriam MakebaTPOK Jazz, and Tabu Ley Rochereau.  The concert promoters, a "Liberian Business Group" hired a first rate documentary crew- this movie looks great- and then the "Liberian Business Group" ran into "serious legal issues" and the footage sat on the shelf for three decades- until 2008, apparently. when the guy who made When We Were Kings finally got this footage released as Soul Power.

  This movie had a low over all rating on netflix of 3.3 which seems really, really low... I mean When We Were Kings was a big deal and this is like a lost classic of the 60s/70s era rock festival concert films.  Think um WOODSTOCK?  FYI- did you know that Netflix has 31 listed pages of Rockumentaries?  The fact that this movie didn't come out for 30 years doesn't effect the underlying merit of the films.  Don't people recognize a five star rockumentary when they see one?  I guess not.

   Just watch the part with the representative of the Liberian Business Group- a guy who looks kind of like me actually, reacts to the fact that President Mobuto unilaterally advanced the start date of the concert one day.  He gets super pissed off about it, ultimately realizing that there isn't a damn thing he can do.

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