Friday, September 16, 2011

The Soul Corner - Charles Bradley

As mentioned earlier this week, I saw Charles Bradley perform at MusicfestNW and it blew my mind. I was not familiar with him, actually went to the theater to see the previous act Motown/Funk Brothers guitarist Dennis Coffey (who was great), and fortunately stayed for the main event.
Bradley, 62 years old, just released his first full CD, No Time For Dreaming (go buy it today!). He is tearing it up on his first coast-to-coast tour and making every second count. His appreciation for this opportunity and his deep goodness and humanity radiate from him.

His show made me feel so good! Dig this:

Bradley's journey was not your usual one to a hip indie rock musicfest - lived in the streets, joined LBJ's job corps in the 1960's, got trained as a cook, traveled around the US and Canada holding restaurant and odd jobs, and barely made ends meet. But Bradley loved old soul music, loved to sing and finally about ten years ago landed a regular gig in a Brooklyn bar as a James Brown imitator.

Here's his TV debut on Carson Daly show performing "The World (Is Going Up in Flames)", the lead track on No Time for Dreaming:

Bradley got discovered by the good folks at soul revivalist label Daptone Records (Sharon Jones etc), was paired with the Menahan Street Band, some of Brooklyn's finest young soul musicians from the Dap-Kings and Budos Band, released a few singles and now this great new CD No Time For Dreaming. This CD will for sure make my top 10 list for 2011 and has not left my CD player this week. His lyrics, vocal phrasing and timing are amazingly great, especially for someone starting a recording career at this stage of life. He's moved far beyond James Brown tribute status with his own distinctive vocal style, rooted in the classics but a powerhouse soul'n'rock combination all its own.

My favrote song on the CD is "I Believe in Your Love", a ballad with a slow slinky groove. Love the moment at the 1:35 mark, "Baby when you get your mind right [female backup singers: "Get it. Get it."], come and talk to me and I might give in to your love." I love that - "I might...". Keep her working, brother.

Want to learn more about Charles Bradley? Here's a terrific 9 minute piece with an interview and more live footage:

This is an amazing success story. The Soul Corner has a new hero.


Rocksteady74 (Scott) said...

Wonderful to see Bradley finally get some recognition for his talent.

YCHIOTR said...

His physical/vocal resemblance to James Brown is uncanny. Daptone does a great job of letting their artists bring into their music the thing that makes them unique, but without being all over the place, thus ensuring something of a consistent brand for the label.