Live Video: Charles Bradley at SXSW

photo by Jim Bennett

If you thought they just don’t make souls singers like they used to, you definitely haven’t seen or heard Charles Bradley. Sure, there are a lot of terrific retro-soul singers or soul inspired musicians today, like Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings, Fitz and the Tantrums, Aloe Blacc, Amy Winehouse and many others, but even they have a hard time stacking up against the classic soul singers of the 60’s, like Otis Redding, Marvin Gaye, Sam Cooke, Aretha Franklin, and James Brown. Charles Bradley, though, is like a page torn out of that book. The 62-year old singer was discovered late in life and subsequently signed to Daptone imprint Dunham Records, but he’d been practicing his hip-swiveling moves ever since he was a kid and first saw the Godfather of Soul at the Apollo. After a storied life, Bradley has amassed an album’s worth of original songs and has toured with the Budos Band and the Menahan Street Band, the latter of which backed him up during his performance live on KEXP at Mellow Johnny’s Bike Shop in Austin during our broadcast from SXSW. In these videos, Charles Bradley is more than inspired… he’s possessed by the spirit of James Brown as he lays himself bare in this hip-jerking, heart-rending set. It doesn’t get any more “soul” than this. Check ‘em out now:

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