Remembering Charles Bradley

Charles Bradley

1948 – 2017

It is with a heavy heart that we announce the passing of Charles Bradley.

One of the privileged ones, we have been honoured to feel the embrace of Charles Bradley.  It was the most memorable, heartfelt night of mind blowing soul in Auckland with Charles Bradley & His Extraordinaires.  A night we will truly never forget.

At the end of the performance Charles Bradley made his way into the audience, hugging everyone thanking them for coming to the show.  A very humble and generous guy, with a talent beyond belief.

Below was sent to us by Daptone Records – Remembering Charles Bradley.

Shot and cut by Living On Soul filmmakers Jeff Broadway and Cory Bailey.

“Cory and I arrived in London in late June 2014 to meet up with the Daptone Super Soul Revue. We’d just recently met Neal Sugarman in New York, and knew almost no one on the tour. Upon touchdown, we were told we’d be riding with Charles Bradley & His Extraordinaires for the next 10 days on their tour bus. Some of the guys in the band were a bit skeptical, and understandably so. We were a couple of unknowns with cameras, eager to use them. Charles was not one of the skeptical ones, though. He immediately embraced us and made us feel welcomed on his bus.

We shared some long rides together over that week and a half. The longest of which was Paris to Vienna – a 12-hour cruise that took us through France, Germany and eventually into Austria. It was on that bus ride that Cory and I played the most epic card game of our lives against Charles and his Spades partner, Extraordinaires saxophonist Freddy DeBoe.

Charles and Freddy won the first game handily and Charles quickly challenged us to a rematch. This time, though, he wanted to raise the stakes (and play to 1,000). He’d been trying to get Cory to stop smoking cigarettes, so he said: ‘Cory – if we beat you this game, no more cigarettes on tour. And Jeff – well you don’t smoke cigarettes, but no more Buddha (marijuana) for you if Freddy and I win.’ We took that bet, but told Charles that if he and Freddy lost, that he’d have to sing a song in Vienna at a location of our choosing, a cappella. He agreed. The stakes were high.

Fortunately, Charles and Freddy lost that marathon game of Spades; and on July 1, 2014, Cory and I took Charles to St. Stephen’s Cathedral in the heart of Vienna. We walked the church together; Charles marveled at its beauty and antiquity. You could just tell that no matter where he was in the world, Charles felt at home inside a house of worship.

We walked back outside and could tell he was a bit nervous. We gave him an out, telling him if he needed to save his voice for the gig that night, that we understood. But he wasn’t interested. A bet was a bet and he’d lost. He was singing in that cathedral plaza. So we set up our cameras in front of St. Stephen’s and gave him a cue to begin.

‘I’m a victim, of loving you,’ he belted out. People began stopping dead in their tracks. ‘I’m a victim, of wanting you,’ he continued. A crowd gathered. His voice must have carried a square mile. He concluded his a cappella performance with a signature scream. Applause filled the cathedral plaza. We hugged Charles, thanked him for such a special performance, and took him for a glass of white wine before returning to the hotel.”

– Jeff Broadway

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