The loss of James Brown, the father of funk and soul in 2006 was a tragedy unexpected. Upon passing he left the gates open to stardom, but no one would thought that a 63 year-old soul singer by the name of Charles Bradley six year later would strut on through with a burning desire to rediscover the heart and essence of soul music that appears forgotten in America. Heartache and despair convened with Charles life early. Between brutal shooting of his brother, and a nation expunging itself of equality and righteous morals inspired much of lyrics that are vocalized on No Time For Dreaming. The Menahan street band were brought along to assist with the musical endeavors, and eventually spawned a promising friendship and songwriting duo between Thomas Brenneck and Bradley.
Revitalizing the sound of 60’s and 70’s soul music, Charles has been referred to as the screaming eagle of soul for his expressive pain provoked vocal range that verifies resemblance of Otis Redding. “The World (Going Up In Flames)”, the first single released from his debut album is a provocative ditty that has an experience soul man asking what has become of world he once knew, and why is no one taking responsibility for the atrocities plaguing our societies. Then there is the instant classic “No Time For Dreamin” that is consumed with clean and crisp horns that blend elegantly with a feverish guitar and electrifying vocals that purify the heart with jive and swagger.
Graciousness, pure talent, and a loving heart brought Bradley to the spotlight. It wasn’t a matter of if he would reach stardom, but when that particular moment where the cosmos align and the chance would be casted toward him. When asked recently why God made him wait so long for his incredible music talent to be recognized he responded “You can’t question God’s time, he comes when He’s ready, when He knows the soul is ready to give, what He wants you to do.” Spiritual or not the statement is unprecedented truth about persevering and never surrendering your talents, which Charles did remarkably.
The new king of soul arrives in Portland Thursday for what is sure to be a riveting and emotional performance at the Aladdin Theater that will have old and new fans reeling around in religious ecstasy.