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In the spotlight: Charles Bradley

Charles Bradley

Charles Bradley

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Updated: August 2, 2013 1:15PM

The best practitioners in the soul music revival are purists with abiding love for authenticity and musical connection with fans. Brooklyn-based Daptone Records has presented the best of the class, with acts including Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings and Afro-soul champions The Budos Band.

Guitarist Tommy “TNT” Brenneck has been instrumental to both acts, in addition to charting his own course. Brenneck’s Menahan Street Band forged a relationship with Charles Bradley while the latter was moonlighting as a James Brown impersonator. Bradley proved to be a gifted provider of original soul music, with a work ethic modeled after the Hardest Working Man in Show Business.

Heralded as the Screaming Eagle of Soul, Bradley’s rich wail recalls the best of Otis Redding. The mild-mannered sixty-five year old becomes electrified on stage, performing twists, kicks and knee drops that would waste younger men. Bradley’s shows are sweat-soaked celebrations of brotherly love and exorcisms of hard times.

Bradley’s rise from humble beginnings was documented in the 2012 film “Soul of America.”

Charles Bradley and His Extraordinaires (led by Brenneck) may not be the biggest band at Lollapalooza, but if any act can turn a Saturday afternoon in Chicago into an unforgettable night at the Apollo, this is it.

♦ Charles Bradley and His Extraordinaires, Lollapalooza, 2:45 p.m Aug. 3, Bud Light Stage, Sold out.


Jeff Elbel is a local free-lance writer.

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