I was one of the lucky one’s who was at the Studio Milwaukee Session with Charles Bradley. Throughout the performance, he was constantly showing his heartfelt appreciation for the audience in attendance. Even though it was a very intimate performance, compared to what he is used to, Charles performed and responded to the audience as if it were the biggest show of his career! It was amazing. After he finished the crowd gave him a well-deserved standing ovation. At that moment, I said to someone next to me that this was the best Studio Milwaukee session to date. I have yet to see one that was better.
After the performance, I went up with my 3 year old son so he could thank Charles for performing. We went up and Wes said “thanks Mr. Bradley” at which point Charles Bradley grabbed his hand and gave it a kiss. No joke. It was quite amazing! The photo here is moments after the encounter. I’ll remember Charles Bradley as one of, if not THE most sincere and genuinely appreciative musicians that I’ve ever met.
I remember Charles Bradley was hanging out in our kitchen, really making the place a home, and I approached him to record 5 Songs with me. As we went down the stairs to record he said in a morning rasp, “Justin, last night was party. You should have been there. Usually I’m tired after the show and I just go back, but last night, boy did we party.” We laughed and he told me more about his carrying on. “I’m telling you, I think I’m getting younger. These crowds, and these people, they give me energy! I’m telling you Justin, I’m getting younger.”
That’s how I’ll always remember him.
When Charles was here for a session, they’d played Minneapolis the night before. I made him some coffee and told him we have a shower, if he wanted to use it. A few minutes later, Jordan and I were talking in the programming department and Charles walked by in nothing but a towel, headed to the shower. The surreality of this larger-than-life figure traipsing by in a towel was just a funny moment and Jordan and said to each other, “Charles Bradley just walked by in a towel, how funny was that?!”
R.I.P., Charles Bradley.
Today’s Shadow is Charles’ lovely cover of Neil Young’s “Heart of Gold”: