Monday 28 October 2013

Charles Bradley Fills Paradiso With Love

I think that soul music is at its best when it lives up to its name: music that is coming straight from the soul. Charles Bradley is one of those artists who only can make music from the heart. There simply is no other way for him. His remarkable life's story, covered in the movie 'Soul of America' adds context to his emotional performances. And that's something I can enjoy watching any time.

Charles Bradley at Paradiso Amsterdam October 24 2013

The venue is completely sold out for "The Screaming Eagle Of Soul". His band starts off without him and warm us up with some nice soul tunes. They are essential for Bradley, or "The Black Rose" as organ player Mike Deller calls him during his announcement of the singer himself. The musicians give Bradley all the spotlight he needs and stay away from it themselves. But the tight playing band also give him all the backup he requires.

The charming singer only needs to do what he does best: sing his honest soul songs with his powerful voice. It's impossible to dislike this wonderful man who will be turning 65 soon. He is telling how grateful he is for this chance he got to make a living as a singer. He's thanking us for buying his music and tickets for the show. But he doesn't need to tell us. You can see it in his eyes. The songs that tell his life's story like 'How Long' sound so genuine and impressive as if he's reliving those dark moments. This is remarkable since he's singing those songs night after night. But also when he's singing about lost love like in 'Crying In The Chapel' you see the heartache in his eyes. The tracks of his second album are somewhat lighter and make sure the show never gets too heavy on the heart. Instead there's plenty of time for love and smooth dance moves. Bradley picked up a few when he still was a James Brown impersonator. During 'Confusion' he's showing his best robot moves while working that fascinating instrument, the theremin.

Soul music is all about emotion and feeling. Bradley has plenty of it and will never disappoint his fans. If his crew wouldn't escort him off stage, he would give everyone a hug and thank us all personally. I read somewhere that this world needs more Charles Bradley. I think that's absolutely true.

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