Charles Bradley new LP. The Guardian Review.

t's no great shock that a film-maker has alighted on the life story of Charles Bradley; his is a pretty dramatic saga. The one surprise is that the film-maker in question is a documentarian rather than a dramatist –Charles Bradley: Soul of America did the rounds of the film festivals last year – but perhaps the twist at the end of the story seems too unbelievable for fiction. When the crew first meet Bradley, he is a 62-year-old semi-literate handyman and part-time James Brown tribute act. He lives in the Brooklyn projects with a pet parrot and his apartment looks pretty grim, but it's nothing compared to his neighbour's, which has bullet holes in the door frame. While waiting for a musical break that never came, he endured homelessness, grinding poverty, a near-fatal illness and the murder of his brother. He is also the primary carer for his invalid mother, mired in the obligation and despair of that role: "I have no life." And yet, by the end of the film, he has a record deal and a debut album on the shelves after Gabe Roth, head of retro-soullabel Daptone, chanced upon Bradley's James Brown tribute act and came away convinced that he'd stumbled across the real deal: a vocalist made of the same stuff as the man he man he was imitating. TBC Here

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