Soul, Funk, and R&B singer Charles Bradley passed away on Sep 23, 2017 after a bout with cancer. Bradley was a relative newcomer to the music industry and had a powerful soulful, wailing voice that left an immediate impact on you. He had been dubbed "the Screaming Eagle of Soul."
I just found out about Mr Bradley last week! I ran across his name and one of his videos in a typical Youtube jag one night. I instantly sought and consumed more.
I was so happy to find someone still out there making this music. Classic Soul and R&B. Raw and unrefined. Somewhat derivative but still with an essence of originality. And feeling.
Bradley had a pretty tough life, which is reflected in his songs. He spent several years after he moved back to New York City as a James Brown Impersonator. And while this becomes somewhat obvious when you watch Mr Bradley live, there isn't a sense of affectation or insincerity. There is a sincerity in his music and vocals that is unmistakable.
I don't normally link to or acknowledge Rolling Stone but they had a really good article shortly after the announcement of Mr Bradley's passing. You can learn a little more about his story.
Charles Bradley didn't release his first album until 2011. When he was 61 years old. His first album was entitled "No Time For Dreaming." His second album, entitled "Victim Of Love", was released in 2013. His final album, "Changes". was released in 2016 featured a cover of the 1972 Black Sabbath song Changes.
In his short time on the music scene had acquired a great measure of acclaim and international recognition. In 2012 a documentary film about Bradley's life and his amazing rise to fame in the music business was released in 2012 and debited at SXSW.
This loss hit me really hard. A combination, I guess, of just discovering him, learning his story and knowing that after a lifetime of hardship and tragedy, Charles Bradley got to enjoy his success for such a short time. Like his own song says, life is full of sorrow, heartaches and pain. Thank you for the music and Rest In Peace Mr Bradley. Please be singing for us on the other side when we get there.