When I first heard Charles Bradley it was after I had finished interviewing Brooklyn's the Budos Band as they stopped in at the Blind Pig in Ann Arbor. I was talking to them about whether or not they were a soul band as they (along with Bradley) are on the Brooklyn Daptone label. The conclusion that drummer Brian Profolio came for me was that the Budos were more of a "repetitive bludgeoning" but if I wanted some soul? Then "you watch fuckin' Charles Bradley man. That dude sings fucking soul music." So after only catching tail end of Bradley set at the Pig, I welcomed a full set of his at the Magic Bag in Ferndale.
The rest of the set consisted of most of the material from Bradley's Daptone debut "No Time For Dreaming" including the closing "Golden Rule." As he left the stage, the crowd eagerly awaited his return now knowing full well he'd be decked in some new threads for an encore. Of course Bradley would not disappoint as he emerged for an encore in candy apple red custom suit for "Why Does It Have To Be So Hard? (To Make It In America?)" What came next is seemingly a regular occurrence at Bradley's shows as he quickly hopped into the crowd and went to shake, hug or talk with every single person that wanted to thank him for the show and show them his gratitude.
As if there was any doubt in my mind before, now it's cemented in my brain. You want soul music? You listen to Charles fuckin Bradley. That dude sings Soul.