This photo above is from the last time that I saw Charles Bradley live. The show was an event hosted by Lagunitas Brewing Company and held in — of all places — a trapeze school in South Seattle. The event was great and I spoke to the guy in charge of it, who was really excited about having Charles there, but overall, it seemed like a lot of people were there for the free alcohol, many of them completely unaware of who Bradley even was. Those who are familiar with the 67-year-old‘s prowess as a live performer, however, will also be aware of how organically and affectively he’s able to consistently win over crowds. The man is amazing and, as someone who fully embodies the spirit of soul, pushing such a powerful and classic sound into current times, he still remains an undisputed original with unquestionable authenticity.
After the show, I was able to hug the soul singer and he thanked me for coming out, attempting to imbue some sort of inspirational knowledge to me that was passed down to him from an elder family member — I believe, his uncle. Almost ashamed of having a buzz on, I tried to hide the fact that his words were floating around my head, rather than into it; only smiling in acknowledgment to let him know that the sentiment was received and appreciated. I’ve seen the performer on at least 4 separate occasion,s and every single time he’s given everything that he had out on those stages. The first opportunity, which I’ve recounted in detail on the site, previously, was at the 2012 Sasquatch Music festival during a 1pm set on the mainstage. Crowds of young teens looking to get a choice spot for whoever the following act would be, arrived early; most of them just waiting for his set to blow through, so that they could get on to what they were there for. But, as an opening act with a midday set, he actually managed to get everyone in that amphitheatre moving, bringing at least one teenage girl to tears. When he was finished, the results were the same as the show at the Lagunitas event and the special KEXP room at Bumbershoot music festival that I caught between then, ending with Charles being unsuccessfully ushered away by his crew, as he tried to stop, hug, and interact with everyone in the crowd on a personal level that he could possibly manage. His energy is miraculous, while he breaks out dance moves like the robot, does the splits, or throws his mic stand forward, only to yank it back into his hands before it connects with the floor — he spent some years as a James Brown impersonator and the skills have remained — not to mention his voice is incredible, but the one thing that really makes Charles who he is is intangible. He’s uncompromising on every level, emotionally disemboweling himself on stage and offering that beautiful truth to his audience time and time again.
The documentary on his life, Soul Of America, chronicled Bradley‘s life long struggles with homelessness, the murder of his brother, financial obstacles, his ailing mother, and endless more tragedy, all as he remained hopeful and inspirational in ways that it’s hard to imagine anyone be able to maintain. Already in his sixties, with very little formal education — he left home at the age of 14 and is learning to read in the film — he released his first album on the Daptone label to universal acclaim in 2011. Just as I stated back during my 2012 show review, “His talent is what carries him. Like the rest of the Daptone roster, Charles is way too legitimate to be minimized by a simple “revivalist” label.” And while his story is tremendously compelling and that alone is enough to support him, his overwhelming talent and his life changing live performances are why he actually deserves your appreciation monetarily. Rather than someone to pity, Bradley has proven to be a figure of aspiration. The only pity is the fact that the greater world wasn’t aware of him sooner.
Thanks to Daptone‘s new Live From The House Of Soul DVD series, you have the opportunity to actually watch one of Charles Bradley‘s endlessly engaging live shows from the comfort of your own home and, thanks to our friends at MVD Visual, 2 of you will also have the opportunity to grab a FREE COPY of the release for yourself.
Here’s a sample…
And, here’s somewhat of a breakdown via the press release:
Daptone Records, the fiercely independent label that has been delivering the gold standard for real soulful music for over a decade, is launching a video series of performances by its artists recorded live in the backyard of their Bushwick studio headquarters, affectionately known as “The House of Soul”. Live from the House of Soul will debut with a full concert by Charles Bradley, followed by episodes from Antibalas, Menahan Street Band, The Mystery Lights, and more.
The first installment of Live From The House Of Soul is directed by Poull Brien and shot in the backyard of Daptone’s House of Soul in Bushwick, Brooklyn. It features Charles Bradley at his best with the Menahan Street Band.
This Live From The House Of Soul series gives viewers an intimate look into the legendary stable of Daptone artists performing at home in a unique setting. The series will be completely produced in-house and feature the tough sound that Daptone has become famous for. More episodes are currently in production.
Bradley’s upcoming album, Changes, is out April 1st, 2016 on Daptone Records.
This Live From The House Of SoulTrack Listing:
“Strictly Reserved For You”
The DVD also includes bonus music videos for “Where Do We Go From Here?,” “Strictly Reserved For You,” “The World (Is Going Up In Flames),” and “Heartaches & Pain.”
Official release date is FEBRUARY 12, 2016
THE CONTEST / GIVEAWAY:
*2 Winners will each receive a DVD copy of
Live From The House Of Soul – feat. Charles Bradley & Menahan Street Band
HOW TO ENTER
Just think about how you love Charles Bradley. If you have yet to be exposed to his magic, previously, then check out the footage above and/or elsewhere on the web, until you feel that magic forcing its way into your cold heart like a home invasion.
Now, simply let us know your interest in receiving one of these DVDs by telling us why you love Charles in the comment section below.
There is no part 3. That’s all there is to the giveaway. It’s pretty easy… but you should probably read the fine print.
The Fine Print:
All entries must be received by Monday, February 15th, 2016 at 11:59pm to be eligible.
Giveaway eligible to US residents only
Winner will be chosen arbitrarily, based on our favorites
Make sure to use a valid email so that we can contact you.
If you sign in with Facebook, make sure that your account can accept a message from us.
If we are unable to contact the winner in a reasonable amount of time, a new winner will be chosen. Good luck!