James Brown fuels the Flames at the Elms

When James Brown and his Famous Flames stopped by the Elms Ballroom for a February 4, 1961 show, “The Godfather of Soul” wasn’t exactly a cultural phenomenon throughout the United States quite yet. The hits attached to advertisement above were several years old at this point, but “The Hardest Working Man in Show Business” wasn’t that far off from the mainstream recognition that would come in the middle of the decade.

I’m fairly certain this was not Brown’s first appearance in Youngstown. He was on the road since 1955, so it’s a high probability he played the Elms or other venues catering to blacks before the 1961 date. I do, however, know the last time he played here. That came on August 30, 2002 for a morning performance at Powers Auditorium as part of the Tom Joyner radio show.

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