Tag Archives: The Life and Times of James Brown

The Soul Will Find a Way | By Kevin Alexander Gray


The Life and Times of James Brown

 At the start of the 1960s, my father Paul moved my mom Geneva, three older brothers, younger sister and me from Boston to rural Spartanburg County in upstate South Carolina. He’d fled the South in the 1940s, enlisting in the Navy. Twenty years later, he returned to an inheritance of eleven shotgun houses and a juke joint at the foot of a hill in a tiny, segregated, one way in – one way out community called Freyline.

Gray’s Grocery was on the sign over the front door between the two round, red  Coca Cola logos, but everyone called the gathering spot “the store”. Gray’s Grocery was where all the maids, janitors, textile mill workers, field laborers, wannabe slicksters, young and old, sinners and saints met on weekends to dance, drink, gamble, talk, cuss, have an occasional scuffle, fist, gun or knife fight, and generally let it all hang out.  

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Kevin Gray on James Brown – Part 1

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