Remembering Charles Bradley

Charles Bradley was a truly inspirational figure in the music world and his passing is a tough blow to Soul fans across the world.

His journey, as documented in the excellent Soul of America Documentary is not only uplifting and the ultimate ode to perseverance in music, but it is also follows the full historic spectrum of soul music. After seeing James Brown perform Live at the Apollo as a young boy, Bradley went on a quest to impersonate his idol under the pseudonym Black Velvet. Like many soul groups, the Vietnam war had a lasting impact on his career, but decades later he was still continuing through a modern day version of the chitlin’ circuit with small gigs while being an older (and at times) homeless performer.

Daptone Records‘ soul revival can be embodied in his sound and the classic records he put out with them. However, it was truly a revival of himself, with the long winding road to success providing the energy of elation and satisfaction to his unforgettable stage performances and the years of hustling the familiar raspiness to his vocal tone.

He was able to put out many bonafied hit songs and touch audiences worldwide after a journey where many a musician would have quit. His timeless masterpieces will have a new meaning when played now, and his career will remain the ultimate testament to the inspirational power of music. May the eagle soar eternally.

For more information on Charles Bradley, and to donate to the organizations he was involved with visit