As Ramon Medina of the Linus Pauling Quartet told me in an Q&A which appeared on this site at the end of last year, “ … Charles Bradley! Fuck, that dude is amazing! I love old soul and after hearing his song “Heartaches and Pain” I just was hit with the same sense of “What the shit?!!!” I got when I first saw Otis Redding’s Monterrey Pop live footage.”
And when you hear “You Put A Flame On it,” the latest single from Bradley’s new album, Victim of Love, you’ll probably be reminded quite a bit of the Motown era of soul – the Four Tops, the Temptations, Otis Redding, Jackie Wilson and others, thanks to a slick horn line. The track is his unique bit of super sincere, emotional soul music that comes from profound life experience. He may not always have the most mellifluous voice and perhaps at times, his voice frays here and there. But the pain and joy that’s in his voice comes from a real place.
in fact, Bradley has had a remarkable life story: the sort of life story that shows how perseverance and dedication can pave the way to success – even if it takes a while. Bradley overcame a rather bleak existence on the streets, a series of ill-suited, ill-fitting jobs, and was even a James Brown impersonator before he was discovered. I missed his set at the Apollo Theater but i’ve seen footage of the man at Bonaroo and his sets are incredible. In some way, he’s the sort that you want to root for because we see something of ourselves in him.