09 Mar, 2013

Charles Bradley – “Victim of Love”

Charles Bradley - Victim of LoveBack in 2011, a little known soul man named Charles Bradley released his first ever LP, No Time For Dreaming on the fabled Brooklyn label Daptone. At 64 years old, Bradley was hardly breaking out in the prime of his youth, but with good reason. After seeing James Brown in 1964, he was inspired, imitating the late performer’s moves and working on his vocal chops. The music seemed to be where he was headed from early-on in his life, but with the Vietnam war breaking up his band and Bradley running away from home, his career was put on hold. Moving between homelessness and odd jobs across the country, Charles found trial in many aspects of his life. Moving back to Brooklyn to get to know his mother, he woke one morning to find his brother shot just down the street. Yet, the sorrow he endured fueled his dreams only further, with Bradley dropping the gig as a chef and picking up a microphone again. Playing small shows around New York as Black Velvet, he was eventually discovered by the founder of Daptone Records, Gabriel Roth, and given a recording deal which would lead to his debut in 2011. His long and inspiring journey towards music was documented only a few months later with the SXSW debut of his biopic, Charles Bradley: Soul of America.

With the Menahan Street Band backing up his R&B prowess, Bradley slides over his tunes with an old sound renewed by the raw emotion heard on every track. Deserving every bit of his initial success, the man returns now with a new album, entitled Victim of Love. Take a listen to his first single from the new record.

This new effort, Victim of Love, is similar to what we’d expect from Charles in the past, but with an expanded feel. According to CMU, Charles’ collaborator Thomas Brenneck, who produced the new record, says this: “I’ve been calling ‘Victim Of Love’ the ‘New Direction Daptone’. People are not going to expect this. There’s a lot of psych influences on this record, a lot of fuzz guitar. I’m pushing the band and the arrangements further out, which in turn has to make Charles go further out”. The new album sounds exactly like the artist we’ve come to adore and respect over the last couple of years, but with a diversified feel. If influences like James Brown, Lee Fields and Otis Redding cut to your musical heart, make sure to give Charles Bradley’s new record Victim of Love a listen this April 2nd from Daptone.

Check out a video I shot of his show in Denver back in 2011:

Review by Henry Moffly.

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