Soul singer Charles Bradley was born on this date in 1948. Bradley sadly died on September 23, 2017 at the age of 68 at the pinnacle of his career. Although he had been singing in some way since the 1960s, Charles didn’t find wide commercial success until he was in his early 50s and forged a fruitful relationship with Daptone Records. Charles’ passionate and powerful delivery earned him the nickname the Screaming Eagle Of Soul.
But Charles also worked under another moniker, Black Velvet, while performing as a James Brown impersonator in New York City. There, Bradley met Daptone co-founder Gabriel Roth who brought Charles into the Daptone fold and introduced him to Tom Brenneck, mastermind of Menahan Street Band. Charles would jam with Brenneck’s band and the singer asked them to play while he made up lyrics on the spot. These sessions were recorded and a number of the songs appeared on Bradley’s 2011 debut album, No Time For Dreaming.
One of the songs on the album, “The World (Is Going Up In Flames),” would receive the video treatment from Poull Brien who would go on to release a documentary, Soul Of America, telling the remarkable tale of Bradley’s life from growing up in Florida to moving to Brooklyn and experiencing homelessness but finally finding success with Daptone and performing at festivals around the world.
In 2013, Charles Bradley & His Extraordinaires would come to one of those festivals, the eclectic Crossroads Festival put on by German live music program Rockpalast and taking place at the intimate Harmonie club in Bonn-Endenich. In true old-school soul show fashion, The Extraordinaires — guitarists Alex Chakourc and Paul Schalda, bassist Vince Chiarito, keyboardist Mike Deller, trumpeter Billy Aukstik, saxophonist Freddie DeBoe and drummer Caito Sanchez — kick off the show with a pair of instrumentals including a killer cover of the Lovin’ Spoonful’s “Summer In The City.”
After his introduction on “Mighty Mighty,” the Screaming Eagle Of Soul leads the band through “Love Bug Blues” from his 2013 album Victim Of Love. The set would include other entries from that record including “Crying In The Chapel,” “Hurricane,” “Let Love Stand A Chance” and the title track. Bradley also delivered the aforementioned “The World (Is Going Up In Flames)” and closed out the set with “Riot.”
In honor of Charles Bradley’s birthday, watch him perform with His Extraordinaires at the 2013 Crossroads Festival in Germany below for this edition of Full Show Friday:
Charles Bradley & His Extraordinaires at Harmonie
- Funky Mute
- Summer in the City
- Mighty Mighty (Spade & Whitey)
- Love Bug Blues
- Crying in the Chapel
- The World (Is Going Up in Flames)
- How Long
- You Put the Flame on It
- You Gotta Make It Right
- Where Do We Go From Here
- Lovin’ You, Baby
- Strictly Reserved for You
- Let Love Stand a Chance
- Victim of Love