Anyone who's ever been out on a Friday night knows that Soul Music is a big deal in San Francisco. Despite the fact (or perhaps because of it) that most of its major canon was recorded over 40 years ago, on any given night in the city you can hear all varieties of soul, from girl groups to boogaloo, from slow jams all the way to jitter-inducing Northern Soul.
Feeling down? Lonely? Spiritually absent? Undersexed? Or — god forbid — oversexed? Feeling like you need a change? Charles Bradley has some advice for you.
The one-man answer to cynicism put on a resounding and thought-provoking soul/funk/R&B revivalist show Tuesday night at The Independent that doubled as a self-help sermon. The 62-year-old phenom has lived quite the life, and his wisdom came across matter-of-factly–sometimes in his lyrics, other times in his impromptu evangelistic addresses, imploring the audience to stop being such bastards to each other (my words). “Love each other,” he said a few times. “Let’s change the world!”
Sharon Jones began her music career in a choir in Augusta, Georgia. Then she stopped, after a record executive told her she’d never make it. Twenty years later, she was lifted from the back of a chorus to lead a nine-piece Motown revivalist group.
Since then, Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings have lent their haunting sound to two Grammy-winning albums (Amy Winehouse’s Back to Black and legendary soul singer Al Green’s Lay It Down) and soundtracks for films featuring little-known actors like Denzel Washington and George Clooney. Their fourth album, I Learned the Hard Way, landed them on NPR, BBC, and late night shows. Now they’re at Stern Grove, where you can hear them for the price of sitting in the fog.