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Friday, May 31, 2013

Sean Kelly

My Thoughts on Charles Bradley: Soul of America

CharlesBradley

With the current state of the music industry, it would be hard enough for a young person to make it big, let a alone a 62 year old man releasing his debut soul album.  That’s what makes the story of Charles Bradley: Soul of America so interesting.  Charles Bradley is a man with a tough upbringing, who spent years performing as a James Brown tribute act named Black Velvet.  Now in his 60s, Bradley has finally started work on his debut album of original material and is hoping to make a name for himself in the world of rhythm and blues.  As it turns out, the album would be named as one of Rolling Stone’s top 50 albums of 2011.

I do have to say that Charles Bradley is probably one of the biggest musical success story to come out in a while.  Of course, the film only follow Bradley in the weeks leading up to (and shortly after) the release of the album and doesn’t really go into this success (other than a lengthy series of postscript at the end of the film).  Instead, the film focuses primarily on Bradley’s somewhat tragic like up until that point and how these events inspired the music he has written.  This includes his experiences living in the projects with little money, as well as the murder of Bradley’s brother.  There is even one moment in the film, where Bradley breaks down crying when recalling events.

Of course, Charles Bradley: Soul of America is a music film at heart and features many scenes of Bradley performing.  I would probably say that it is for these scenes alone that the film is worth seeing.  Charles Bradley is indeed a very talented soul singer and he really puts his heart into the music.  As Bradley’s career starts taking off, he responds in great happiness when he begins seeing his name in the newspaper and music videos appear on VH1.  He is definitely a very humble individual who deserves his success.

Overall, I would say that Charles Bradley: Soul of America was an interesting story of a man, who found musical success so late in his life.  That said, I still wish that the film featured more of the actual post-album success, instead of describing it all through onscreen text at the end.  Of course, the filmmakers probably wouldn’t have been able to guess that Charles Bradley would become as successful as he gotten.  Either way, this film is still a highly inspirational story.

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Sean Kelly

About Sean Kelly -

Sean Patrick Kelly is a self-described ├╝ber-geek, who has been an avid film lover for all his life. He graduated from York University in 2010 with an honours B.A. in Cinema and Media Studies and he likes to believe he knows what he’s talking about when he writes about film (despite occasionally going on pointless rants).