He’s the screaming eagle of soul. He’s also the vanguard of funk, the face of sincerity, and the body with no space for lust, just love. Charles Bradley plays his songs and gets the love back by the thousands.
His latest exhibition was with his band The Extraordinaries at the beautiful Beacon Theatre in New York, a full house enamored after his return from an extensive tour of Europe.
At 67 he’s a journeyman in musical terms. He translates his experiences unfiltered through song and it comes off so honest (at times crying during performances). This might be what stirs up so much passion when thinking of him as a modern musician, he sings about love and loss, he also sings about the modern world we live in, greed, fear, confusion, – but it stands out because he does it with such conviction.
He came out to the Beacon in a wine-purple colored suit, after a The Extraordinaires warmed up the crowd. The set rose in force as he quickly got into the swing of it, the performances were stamped with his signature robot shuffle, torso stroking, and flapping arms dance moves, full of unabashed joy. It’s like watching a jam session of the highest order. They played some numbers from the latest album Changes titled after the incredible cover of the Black Sabbath single, and older favorites ‘You Put a Flame On It’, and ‘Strictly Reserved’.
It takes a very in-tune musician to be able to record covers of both ‘Changes’ by Sabbath, and Neil Young’s ‘Heart of Gold’ and turn them into something different. When thinking of Bradley’s personal journeys across the country, a period of homelessness, his time moonlighting as a James Brown impersonator, you get a better sense of how he’s so responsive and passionate with his music.
He’s a showman and after nearly 40 years of relative anonymity, it’s taken a while to discover his talents – but it’s been worth the wait.
Article: Jacques Lang