I consider myself to be a funk evangelist. It’s one of my many missions in life. I truly believe in the importance of spreading the good word of funk to the world. A lot of people are funk deficient and they don’t even know it. The wonderful and soul enriching power of music is so beautiful. No matter how funky you are, you could always be funkier. It is a never-ending, joyous journey. Charles Bradley’s set in Kansas City Saturday night reaffirmed my dedication to bring the funk to the people.
Charles Bradley is an underrated soul singer. Bradley overcame a rough childhood and homelessness to pursue his love of music. Known as the Screaming Eagle of Soul, he is signed to the excellent funk and soul label Daptone Records. The 67-year-old Bradley began his career as a James Brown impersonator, but has carved out his own path. He is not an artist just mining nostalgic ideas. Bradley is honest, real and in the now.
Over 500 people came out to the Midland to see his set as a part of Middle of the Map Fest 2016. Bradley and his tight band, the Extraordinaires, burned through an hour of simmering ballads and uplifting soul. It was one of the funkiest shows I’ve seen in years.
Live, the songs took on even more emotion and energy than the recorded versions. Bradley left so much of himself on that stage. The passion he has for his music is infectious.
I was fortunate to briefly meet Charles before his set. I told him about my funk deficiency theory and said he is a catalyst for positive change in funk. “I’ve paid my dues,” he said in a gravelly voice. Charles Bradley’s humility, positive outlook and his love of music is inspiring.