Regular readers of the blog will probably be aware of my fondness for Brooklyn’s Daptone Records label. We’ve already featured the fantastic Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings and so this week I’m bringing you another member of the Daptone family, Mr Charles Bradley.
On Friday past I was lucky enough to catch the man himself live in concert at The Empire Music Hall – a former church-turned-venue on Belfast’s hip Botanic Avenue. The band (The Extraordinaires) kicked off the show with a great version of Buddy Miles/Ike Turner’s “Funky Mule”. This was swiftly followed by a cool funk instrumental take on the classic Lovin Spoonful’s “Summer In The City” to get the crowd really pumped. Charles took to the stage shortly after and the rapturous applause he received was almost deafening!
He progressed through the set list with his incredible passion and energy and the band very much on top of their game. Tracks like “The World Is Going Up In Flames”, “Crying In The Chapel” & “You Put The Flame On It” proved to be especially popular among the audience but it was the song that I feature for you today that was my personal highlight. “Confusion” has more of a psychedelic feel to it than the other tracks – I’m guessing that the title and indeed the feel of the record owes quite a bit to The Temptations’ “Ball Of Confusion”. In a live context, the song really excelled.
I was lucky enough to spend some time with the band backstage after the gig and they were very surprised and humbled by how warmly received they were by the Belfast crowd. We spoke about all manner of things Daptone and I was delighted when they confirmed that Sharon Jones is on the mend and they hope that the new album will be finished in the coming months. That’s great news on both fronts!
If any of you aren’t aware of who Charles Bradley is (or indeed his story) I highly recommend checking out the documentary “Soul Of America” which is an incredible insight into the man. The film isn’t without its tragedy but it really is a fantastic, heart-warming story of a man whose passion, not only for music but life in general, burns so brightly and shows that no matter how old you are, it’s never too late to realise your dreams.