Charles Bradley "The Screaming Eagle of Soul": 3 December 2011 - New York

Bradley wooed and wowed the Bowery Ballroom crowd.

In his early 60s now, Charles Bradley should have made it big years ago. But it wasn’t until a Daptones label man found him performing James Brown tributes as "Black Velvet" in New York in the past ten years that he got his break. In the studio, Bradley connected with Thomas Brenneck, now his lead guitarist, who encouraged him to create his own songs. Soon enough songs gushed forth to form the 2011 album No Time for Dreaming, which has received quite a bit of acclaim, including from PopMatters. In fact, if it wasn’t for my colleague Eddie Ciminelli's aside of Bradley in his review of ACL in September, this artist may not have flown across my path until I saw it on some of the now published year-end "best of" lists.

Arriving at the Bowery Ballroom before 10 pm, I found that the show was delayed till about 10:30 but even then it didn’t start for a bit more. But the wait was worth it. Bradley's backing band took to the stage for two instrumental jams before the man himself took the stage in a black bedazzled jacket. Immediately, the Bowery audience began to groove finding themselves enthralled in the spiritual embrace of soul music (though the balcony was quieter).

Charles Bradley, aka "The Screaming Eagle of Soul", backed by the much younger Extraordinaires, wailed his soulful tunes under the red lights. Songs included "Heartaches and Pain", "This Love Ain't Big Enough for the Two of Us", a cover of Neil Young's "Heart of Gold" and two new numbers (from what I thought I heard him say), each of which filled the venue with his soaring vocals.

Bradley wooed and wowed the Bowery Ballroom crowd. But he also exposed his own heart, lyrically, like on "The World (is Going Up in Flames)", "Lovin' You, Baby" and, towards the end, "Why is it so Hard", and also physically -- happiness was quite visible as his glowing and welcoming eyes cast their gaze around the venue. He shook hands whenever he got the chance, offered up an "I love you" to New York, and even stepped down from the stage to embrace his believers. With every soulful, and sold-out, performance like this one, Bradley encourages the audience to embrace him too. It is hard not to.


Bradley and the Budos Band are taking the New York stage for a New Year's Eve performance at the Music Hall of Williamsburg.

To view larger versions of these images, plus a few more, check out the gallery over at PopMatters' Facebook page.

To be a migrant worker in America is to relearn the basic skills of living. Imagine doing that in your 60s and 70s, when you thought you'd be retired.

Nomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century

Publisher: W. W. Norton
Author: Jessica Bruder
Publication date: 2017-09

There's been much hand-wringing over the state of the American economy in recent years. After the 2008 financial crisis upended middle-class families, we now live with regular media reports of recovery and growth -- as well as rising inequality and decreased social mobility. We ponder what kind of future we're creating for our children, while generally failing to consider who has already fallen between the gaps.

Keep reading... Show less

Inane Political Discourse, or, Alan Partridge's Parody Politics

Publicity photo of Steve Coogan courtesy of Sky Consumer Comms

That the political class now finds itself relegated to accidental Alan Partridge territory along the with rest of the twits and twats that comprise English popular culture is meaningful, to say the least.

"I evolve, I don't…revolve."
-- Alan Partridge

Alan Partridge began as a gleeful media parody in the early '90s but thanks to Brexit he has evolved into a political one. In print and online, the hopelessly awkward radio DJ from Norwich, England, is used as an emblem for incompetent leadership and code word for inane political discourse.

Keep reading... Show less

The show is called Crazy Ex-Girlfriend largely because it spends time dismantling the structure that finds it easier to write women off as "crazy" than to offer them help or understanding.

In the latest episode of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, the CW networks' highly acclaimed musical drama, the shows protagonist, Rebecca Bunch (Rachel Bloom), is at an all time low. Within the course of five episodes she has been left at the altar, cruelly lashed out at her friends, abandoned a promising new relationship, walked out of her job, had her murky mental health history exposed, slept with her ex boyfriend's ill father, and been forced to retreat to her notoriously prickly mother's (Tovah Feldshuh) uncaring guardianship. It's to the show's credit that none of this feels remotely ridiculous or emotionally manipulative.

Keep reading... Show less

Here comes another Kompakt Pop Ambient collection to make life just a little more bearable.

Another (extremely rough) year has come and gone, which means that the German electronic music label Kompakt gets to roll out their annual Total and Pop Ambient compilations for us all.

Keep reading... Show less

Winner of the 2017 Ameripolitan Music Award for Best Rockabilly Female stakes her claim with her band on accomplished new set.

Lara Hope & The Ark-Tones

Love You To Life

Label: Self-released
Release Date: 2017-08-11

Lara Hope and her band of roots rockin' country and rockabilly rabble rousers in the Ark-Tones have been the not so best kept secret of the Hudson Valley, New York music scene for awhile now.

Keep reading... Show less
Pop Ten
Mixed Media
PM Picks

© 1999-2017 All rights reserved.
Popmatters is wholly independently owned and operated.