Whatever happened to soul music? That’s probably a question Charles Bradley, who unfortunately passed two years ago, asked himself often. Charles Bradley, a soul singer himself, had one of the more interesting paths towards stardom. It took Bradley some time, as he did not breakthrough into the music industry until he was in his sixties. However, if one thing is certain about Charles Bradley, it’s that his music tells stories of a man who has gone through periods of tough heartache in life, but who has never given up in pursuit of his dreams.
Always working as a singer in smaller clubs and also performing as a James Brown impersonator, Bradley knew his way around the microphone. His voice is a reminder of the days when soul was at its peak. In my opinion, Bradley deserves more credit, respect, and fame than he receives. Today’s music is filled with electronic sounds, autotune, and major technological adaptions that can change a song entirely from what it first sounds like with instruments. This is not a bad thing, however, I think what Bradley could do with his voice surpasses any kind of electronic tool used in music. Charles Bradley only needed a microphone, a few instruments, and his voice to capture a crowd in their tracks, something some of today’s artists cannot do.
With songs like, “Changes”, “Victim of Love”, and “Slip Away”, Charles Bradley stirs up every emotion one might feel while listening to his music. His songs can leave you with the feeling of appreciating life at every moment, while others make you feel like you can take on the world. Bradley also has an immense range in his voice as evidenced by his screams in his songs – a sound in his music that tells you Charles Bradley means business. A man who has seen and lived through it all, Charles Bradley brought soul music back one song at a time and he had no intention of stopping. Bradley deserved to share more of his amazing music, but he helped bring soul music back, and it is better than ever before.
— Bob Mitchell