Charles Bradley Black Velvet Black Velvet (Limited Edition Deluxe Lp Box Set) - Vinyl

Charles Bradley


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In classic soul songs, life often just isn't fair. True love doesn't work out, fate takes a wrong turn, hard work goes unrewarded. Charles Bradley knew plenty about what made soul music great, and it was sad but somehow fitting that, after decades of struggle and disappointment, Bradley finally started receiving the acclaim he deserved after he cut his first album in 2011 at the age of 62, only to succumb to cancer in 2017. To honor Bradley's passing, Dunham/Daptone Records has released Black Velvet, a collection of rarities and unreleased material that Bradley cut during his tenure with the label, and while this album lacks the thematic coherence of the three LPs he cut in his lifetime, this certainly demonstrates the skill, passion, and emotional intelligence that Bradley brought to his music. Working with producer and bandleader Tommy "TNT" Brenneck, Bradley consistently delivered performances that made clear he wasn't merely inspired by legendary vocalists like Otis Redding, James Brown, and Wilson Pickett, he fashioned a style that took elements of their trademark sounds and fused it into a musical imagination with a lyrical gift that was very much his own. Matched by the rich dynamics of Brenneck's backing tracks, Bradley sings his stories of life and love with a straight-from-the-gut sound that's genuine and never histrionic, no matter how forceful he sounds. Since Bradley had an unexpected success with his cover of Black Sabbath's "Changes," it should surprise no one that there are some offbeat takes on rock tunes included on this set, and he transforms Nirvana's "Stay Away" so totally that you might not recognize it at first, and while his take on Neil Young's "Heart of Gold" follows the original a bit more closely, the weary grit of his interpretation captures the sorrow and introspection of Young's lyrics brilliantly. And the moody psychedelic washes of "(I Hope You Find) The Good Life" prove to be an inspired match for Bradley's mournful lyrics, even when he interpolates "The Way We Were" and "Go Away Little Girl." Black Velvet is a collection of odds and ends and not a proper album, and sometimes it sounds that way as it moves from track to track. But it is full of the heart, soul, and spirit that Charles Bradley summoned every time he stood before a microphone, and this is a moving reminder of how much he gave us, and how much we have lost. ~ Mark Deming

  • Internal ID: JITRE
  • Format: Vinyl
  • Genre: R&B

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