When you listen to Heartaches and Pain by Charles Bradley, with it’s raw outpouring of emotion, it’s clear that this is a man who’s lived a tough life. A troubled life that saw Bradley live on subway cars for two years as a teenage runaway, work odd jobs across the country and tragically experience the death of his brother.
His remarkable and painful story took a turn for the better when he was discovered by Gabe Roth of Daptone Records. Charles, a longtime fan of the Godfather of Soul was performing as a James Brown impersonator at the time. The Daptone Records co-founder saw far more potential in the talents of Charles Bradley than being a mere impersonator. And thank God he did. Following an introduction to Thomas Brenneck of the incredible Menehan Street Band, an invitation to perform along with the band and the writing and recording of numerous songs, Daptone Records released No Time For Dreaming. It was Charles Bradley’s debut album and he was 62.
In an interview with NPR Bradley had this to say: “I’m gonna say it’s all right to dream, but work at it — make it come to reality,” Bradley says. “It took 62 years for somebody to find me, but I thank God. Some people never get found.”
Charles’ amazing story is the subject of a documentary entitled Charles Bradley: The Soul of America and earlier this year, he followed up his incredible debut with his second album, Victim of Love.
Watch the trailer of the documentary and two of my favorite videos by Charles Bradley.