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16th August by Margaret Wieringa
Sometimes, good things do happen to good people. Sometimes, it takes a while. I watched Charles Bradley: Soul of America just after watching Broken, and I was feeling quite traumatised. I felt like the world was a horrible place with bad people doing bad things, and I just felt like crying. And then I met Charles Bradley.
The documentary starts showing Charles, a 62-year-old man who lives in the projects in New York, doing one of his James Brown impersonation shows. He has been doing them for years and has now decided that he wants to record and perform as himself. Daptone Records get on board, and the film tells of the journey through recording the record and touring, to the album launch.
Charles is a beautiful man, a very gentle soul who you can only hope will go on to great heights. I felt like some of the information on his past (more specifically, his mother’s past) was a bit unnecessary to his tale – it felt a little like muckraking, and I didn’t need to know about this to know about the man. But the way he expresses his emotions, the whole range, endeared him to me so much. I cannot imagine a single person would not walk out of this film and feel that the world can be a better place.