Charles Bradley (singer)

Last updated

Charles Bradley
Charles Bradley 2017.jpg
Charles Bradley in Louisville, KY, 2017
Background information
Birth nameCharles Edward Bradley
Also known asScreaming Eagle Of Soul
Born(1948-11-05)November 5, 1948
Gainesville, Florida, U.S.
DiedSeptember 23, 2017(2017-09-23) (aged 68)
Brooklyn, New York, U.S.
Genres Funk, soul, R&B
Years active1965–2017
Labels Daptone Records, Dunham Records
Associated acts
Website thecharlesbradley.com

Charles Edward Bradley (November 5, 1948 – September 23, 2017) was an American singer. [1] His performances and recording style were consistent with the revivalist approach of his main label Daptone Records, celebrating the feel of funk and soul music from the 1960s and 1970s. [2] One review said he "echoes the evocative delivery of Otis Redding". [3]

Daptone Records record label

Daptone Records is a funk and soul independent record label based in Brooklyn, New York that is known for Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings and Charles Bradley.

Otis Redding American singer, songwriter and record producer

Otis Ray Redding Jr. was an American singer, songwriter, record producer, arranger, and talent scout. He is considered one of the greatest singers in the history of American popular music and a seminal artist in soul music and rhythm and blues. Redding's style of singing gained inspiration from the gospel music that preceded the genre. His singing style influenced many other soul artists of the 1960s. During his lifetime, his recordings were produced by Stax Records, based in Memphis, Tennessee.

Contents

Calling himself "the screaming eagle of soul", Bradley was the subject of the documentary Soul of America which premiered at South by Southwest in 2012. [4]

South by Southwest is an annual conglomerate of film, interactive media, and music festivals and conferences that take place in mid-March in Austin, Texas, United States. It began in 1987, and has continued to grow in both scope and size every year. In 2017, the conference lasted for 10 days with SXSW interactive lasting for five days, music for seven days and film running concurrently for nine days.

Early life

Zelt-Musik-Festival 2016 in Freiburg, Germany Charles Bradley (ZMF 2016) jm05414.jpg
Zelt-Musik-Festival 2016 in Freiburg, Germany

Bradley was raised by his maternal grandmother in Gainesville, Florida, until the age of eight when his mother, who had abandoned him at eight months of age, took him to live with her in Brooklyn, New York. [5]

Brooklyn Borough in New York City and county in New York state, United States

Brooklyn is the most populous borough of New York City, with an estimated 2,648,771 residents in 2017. Named after the Dutch village of Breukelen, it borders the borough of Queens at the western end of Long Island. Brooklyn has several bridge and tunnel connections to the borough of Manhattan across the East River, and the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge connects it with Staten Island. Since 1896, Brooklyn has been coterminous with Kings County, the most populous county in the U.S. state of New York and the second-most densely populated county in the United States, after New York County.

New York (state) State of the United States of America

New York is a state in the Northeastern United States. New York was one of the original thirteen colonies that formed the United States. With an estimated 19.54 million residents in 2018, it is the fourth most populous state. In order to distinguish the state from the city with the same name, it is sometimes referred to as New York State.

In 1962, his sister took him to the Apollo Theater to see James Brown perform. [6] Bradley was so inspired by the performance that he began to practice mimicking Brown's style of singing and stage mannerisms at home. [7]

Apollo Theater theater and music venue in Harlem, Manhattan, New York City

The Apollo Theater is a music hall located at 253 West 125th Street between Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Boulevard and Frederick Douglass Boulevard in the Harlem neighborhood of Manhattan, New York City. It is a noted venue for African-American performers, and is the home of Showtime at the Apollo, a nationally syndicated television variety show which showcased new talent, from 1987 to 2008, encompassing 1,093 episodes; the show was rebooted in 2018.

James Brown American singer, songwriter, musician, and recording artist

James Joseph Brown was an American singer, songwriter, dancer, musician, record producer and bandleader. A progenitor of funk music and a major figure of 20th-century music and dance, he is often referred to as the "Godfather of Soul". In a career that lasted 50 years, he influenced the development of several music genres.

When he was fourteen, Bradley ran away from home to escape poor living conditions—his bedroom was in a basement with a sand floor—and lived on the streets during the day and slept nights in subway cars for two years. [8] Later, he enlisted in Job Corps which eventually led him to Bar Harbor, Maine to train as a chef. [9] A co-worker told him he looked like James Brown and asked if he could sing; he was at first shy but then admitted that he could. [ citation needed ] He overcame his stage fright (when a crew member pushed him through the curtains onto the stage) and performed five or six times with a band. His bandmates were later drafted into the Vietnam War, and the act never re-formed. [10] [ not in citation given ]

Job Corps

Job Corps is a program administered by the United States Department of Labor that offers free-of-charge education and vocational training to young men and women ages 16 to 24.

Bar Harbor, Maine Town in Maine, United States

Bar Harbor is a town on Mount Desert Island in Hancock County, Maine, United States. As of the 2010 census, its population is 5,235. Bar Harbor is a popular tourist destination in the Down East region of Maine and home to the College of the Atlantic, Jackson Laboratory, and MDI Biological Laboratory. Prior to a catastrophic 1947 fire, the town was a noted summer colony for the wealthy. Bar Harbor is home to the largest parts of Acadia National Park, including Cadillac Mountain, the highest point within twenty-five miles (40 km) of the coastline of the Eastern United States. The town is served by the Hancock County-Bar Harbor Airport, which serves year-round direct flights to Boston, Massachusetts.

Bradley worked in Maine as a cook for ten years, and then decided to head west, hitchhiking across the country. [6] He lived in upstate New York, Seattle, Canada and Alaska before settling in California in 1977. [5] [7] There, Bradley worked odd jobs and played small shows for 20 years. [6] He earned extra money doing James Brown performances, where he used such stage names as the Screaming Eagle of Soul, Black Velvet and even James Brown Jr. In 1994 he moved back to Brooklyn after receiving a call from his mother. [11]

Upstate New York region of the U.S. state of New York north of the core of the New York metropolitan area

Upstate New York is the portion of the American state of New York lying north of the New York metropolitan area. The Upstate region includes most of the land area of the state of New York, but a minority of the state's population; it excludes New York City, the Lower Hudson Valley, and Long Island, although the precise boundary is debated. Major cities in Upstate New York include Buffalo, Rochester, Albany, and Syracuse.

Seattle City in Washington, United States

Seattle is a seaport city on the West Coast of the United States. It is the seat of King County, Washington. With an estimated 744,955 residents as of 2018, Seattle is the largest city in both the state of Washington and the Pacific Northwest region of North America. According to U.S. Census data released in 2018, the Seattle metropolitan area's population stands at 3.94 million, and ranks as the 15th largest in the United States. In July 2013, it was the fastest-growing major city in the United States and remained in the top 5 in May 2015 with an annual growth rate of 2.1%. In July 2016, Seattle was again the fastest-growing major U.S. city, with a 3.1% annual growth rate. Seattle is the northernmost large city in the United States.

Canada Country in North America

Canada is a country in the northern part of North America. Its ten provinces and three territories extend from the Atlantic to the Pacific and northward into the Arctic Ocean, covering 9.98 million square kilometres, making it the world's second-largest country by total area. Canada's southern border with the United States, stretching some 8,891 kilometres (5,525 mi), is the world's longest bi-national land border. Its capital is Ottawa, and its three largest metropolitan areas are Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver. As a whole, Canada is sparsely populated, the majority of its land area being dominated by forest and tundra. Consequently, its population is highly urbanized, with over 80 percent of its inhabitants concentrated in large and medium-sized cities, with 70% of citizens residing within 100 kilometres (62 mi) of the southern border. Canada's climate varies widely across its vast area, ranging from arctic weather in the north, to hot summers in the southern regions, with four distinct seasons.

Career in music

Black Velvet & initial recordings (1996–2010)

In 1996, Bradley's mother called him and asked him to move back in with her in Brooklyn so she could get to know him. [5] It was there he began making a living moonlighting as a James Brown impersonator in local clubs under the name "Black Velvet." [12] [13] During this time, Bradley experienced more difficulties, including almost dying in a hospital after having an allergic reaction to penicillin, and, in a separate episode, awaking at his mother's house to a commotion as police and ambulances were arriving to the scene of his brother's murder, just down the road from there. [5]

While performing as "Black Velvet," he was eventually discovered by Gabriel Roth (better known as "Bosco Mann"), a co-founder of Daptone Records. Roth introduced Bradley to Daptone artist and his future producer Tom Brenneck, then the songwriter and guitarist for The Bullets, and later for Menahan Street Band, who invited Bradley to his band's rehearsal. Bradley asked that the band simply perform while he made up lyrics on the spot. After writing several songs, Daptone released some of these initial recordings on vinyl starting in 2002. [14]

No Time for Dreaming & Soul of America (2011–2012)

Bradley performing at Traumzeit-Festival in Duisburg in 2013. Charles Bradley (Traumzeit Festival 2013) IMGP6830 smial wp.jpg
Bradley performing at Traumzeit-Festival in Duisburg in 2013.

Brenneck and Bradley chose ten of these recordings to be released as Bradley's debut album No Time for Dreaming in 2011. [7]

In the spring of 2012, Soul of America, a documentary directed by Poull Brien, debuted at the SXSW Film Festival in Austin, Texas. Poull Brien first met Bradley when he directed the music video for "The World (Is Going Up In Flames)." This feature film told Bradley's story from his childhood in Florida, to the days of homelessness and heartache, then later his gigs as Black Velvet, and finally ended with him touring and recording at Daptone Records. The film included his performance at festivals around the world. [15]

In 2014 Bradley took part in the Hamilton, Ontario Supercrawl event. [16]

Victim of Love & Changes (2013–2016)

Bradley's second album, Victim of Love came out on April 2, 2013. [17] Bradley's third album, Changes was released on April 1, 2016 and featured a cover of the Black Sabbath song, "Changes." [18] In August 2016 he fell ill and canceled a Canadian tour and his appearance at the Cambridge Folk Festival July 30 (UK), where the band Darlingside filled in for him. [19]

Death

Bradley died on September 23, 2017 of stomach cancer in Brooklyn, New York, at the age of 68. He was surrounded by family and friends, including members of all the bands he worked closely with, according to a press release from his publicist. [20] [21]

Bradley's songs have frequently been sampled by hip hop artists. [22] Bradley provided the singing voice of the Krampus in the American Dad! episode, "Minstrel Krampus". A live Bradley performance appears in the Amazon television show Alpha House (season 1, episode 6 in 2013). [23] The song "The World (Is Going Up In Flames)" was featured in the TV series Spotless , as well as the final installment of the CW's 2016 Arrowverse crossover, Legends of Tomorrow S2E7 'Invasion!'. Bradley's song "Dusty Blue" (season 3) and "Changes" (season 6) were featured in the TV series Suits . He is also featured performing "Ain't It A Sin" in the third episode of the Netflix Marvel series Luke Cage . The song "Where Do We Go From Here" appears in the 4th season of the Showtime series Ray Donovan .[ citation needed ] His version of "Changes" is the opening theme of the animated sitcom Big Mouth, and appears in the TV series Big Little Lies . The song "Change For The World" is the opening theme of the TV series Barry .

Discography

Studio albums

YearAlbumLabel & Catalog No.
2011 No Time for Dreaming Daptone Records DAP-021 / Dunham DUN-1001
2013 Victim of Love Daptone Records DAP-031 / Dunham DUN-1004
2016 Changes Daptone Records DAP-041 / Dunham DUN-1005
2018 Black Velvet Daptone's Dunham Records

Singles

YearTitleCredited toLabel & Catalog No.
2002"Take It As It Come, Pt. 1" / "Take It As It Come, Pt. 2"Charles Bradley and Sugarman & Co. Daptone Records DAP-1005
2004"Now That I'm Gone (Look How You're Crying)" / "Can't Stop Thinking About You"Charles Bradley and the BulletsDaptone Records DAP-1014
2006"This Love Ain't Big Enough For The Two Of Us"Charles Bradley and the BulletsDaptone Records DAP-1021
2007"The World (Is Going Up In Flames)" / "Heartaches And Pain"Charles Bradley & Menahan Street Band / Charles BradleyDaptone Records DAP-1034 / Dunham DNM-102
2008"The Telephone Song"Charles BradleyDaptone Records DAP-1041 / Dunham DUN-103
2010"No Time For Dreaming" / "Golden Rule"Charles Bradley & Menahan Street BandDaptone Records DAP-1055 / Dunham DUN-107
2010"Every Day Is Christmas (When I'm Lovin' You)" / "Mary's Baby"Charles Bradley featuring The Gospel QueensDaptone Records DAP-1058 / Dunham DUN-109
2011"Heart of Gold" / "In You (I Found a Love)"Charles Bradley & Menahan Street BandDaptone Records DAP-1059 / Dunham DUN-110
2012"Stay Away" / "Run It Back"Charles Bradley & Menahan Street Band / Menahan Street BandDaptone Records DAP-1065 / Dunham DUN-111
2013"Strictly Reserved For You" / "Let Love Stand A Chance"Charles Bradley & Menahan Street BandDaptone Records DAP-1070 / Dunham DUN-113
2013"Confusion" / "Where Do We Go From Here"Charles Bradley & Menahan Street BandDaptone Records DAP-1073 / Dunham DUN-114
2013"Changes" / "Ain't It A Sin"Charles Bradley & The Budos Band / Charles Bradley & The BulletsDaptone Records DAP-1076 / Dunham DUN-115
2014"Luv Jones" / "Change, Change, Change"Charles Bradley & LaRose JacksonDaptone Records DAP-1080 / Dunham DUN-117
2016"Change For The World" / "Revelations"Charles Bradley / Menahan Street BandDaptone Records DAP-1095 / Dunham DUN-118

Other appearances

Related Research Articles

Black Velvet may refer to:

Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings American funk/soul band

Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings were an American funk and soul band signed to Daptone Records. They were part of a revivalist movement recreating mid-1960s to mid-1970s style funk and soul music. In December 2014, the band was nominated for a Grammy, in the category Best R&B Album of the Year for Give the People What They Want.

Sharon Jones American soul funk singer from NYC

Sharon Lafaye Jones was an American soul and funk singer. She was the lead singer of Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings, a soul and funk band based in Brooklyn, New York. Jones experienced breakthrough success relatively late in life, releasing her first record when she was 40 years old. In 2014, Jones was nominated for her first Grammy, in the category Best R&B Album, for Give the People What They Want.

Bruce Sudano American musician

Bruce Charles Sudano is an American singer-songwriter, noted for creating songs for artists such as Michael Jackson, Dolly Parton, Reba McEntire and his late wife, the Grammy Award-winning singer Donna Summer. Sudano is the founder of indie record label Purple Heart Recording Company.

Nick Movshon is a bass guitarist, drummer and producer. He is best known for his work with British soul star Amy Winehouse, producer Mark Ronson, and as a member of The Arcs. Movshon has played with groups such as Brooklyn art-rockers TV on the Radio, the blues-rock duo The Black Keys, Afrobeat ensemble Antibalas Afrobeat Orchestra, hip-hop group The Wu Tang Clan, soul singer Charles Bradley, mixed-soul group Menahan Street Band, and soul-funk group Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings. The bass he is mostly known for using is a vintage Gibson Ripper. He is a frequent contributor to the recorded output of Brooklyn-based Truth and Soul Records, Dunham Records, and Daptone Records. He also played bass on the Bruno Mars song "Locked Out of Heaven". Movshon lives in New York City.

The Budos Band is an American instrumental band recording on the Daptone Records label. The band has nine members who on their first studio albums, played instrumental music that was self-described as "Afro-Soul," a term and sound which - in a 2007 interview - baritone saxophone player Jared Tankel elucidated as being drawn from Ethiopian music the band had been listening to that had a soul undercurrent to it, which the band then "sprinkled a little bit of sweet 60's stuff on top" of. Since this time, the band has moved toward playing what they refer to as "70's Psychedelic Instrumental Music."

Menahan Street Band American instrumental band

Menahan Street Band is a Brooklyn, New York-based instrumental band formed in 2007, that plays funk and soul music. The band features musicians from Antibalas, El Michels Affair, Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings and the Budos Band. The group was founded by Thomas Brenneck while living in an apartment on Menahan St. in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Bushwick. Their debut album, Make the Road by Walking, was released in 2008 on Dunham, a sublabel of Daptone Records.

The Sugarman 3, sometimes titled The Sugarman Three, is a retro-funk band from New York City formed in 1996 by saxophonist Neal Sugarman, Hammond organ player Adam Scone, and drummer Rudy Albin. The band has released four studio albums—Sugar's Boogaloo (1999), Soul Donkey (2000), Pure Cane Sugar (2002) and What the World Needs Now (2012)—and one compilation album, Sweet Spot (2001).

Victor Axelrod American musician

Victor Axelrod aka Ticklah is a Brooklyn native and independent music producer and artist, who has been a continual and integral part of the NYC music scene for over a decade. As an artist he is a founding member of Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings, Antibalas Afrobeat Orchestra, and the Easy Star All-Stars. As a producer he contributed to one of the most successful reggae albums of the 21st century, Dub Side of the Moon, as well as releasing his own critically acclaimed solo projects, including Ticklah vs. Axelrod.

<i>I Learned the Hard Way</i> 2010 studio album by Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings

I Learned the Hard Way is the fourth studio album by American soul and funk band Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings, released April 6, 2010 on Daptone Records. Production for the album took place at the label's House of Soul Studios during 2009 to 2010 and was handled by Daptone co-founder Gabriel Roth, credited for the album as "Bosco Mann". The album debuted at number 15 on the US Billboard 200, selling 23,000 copies in its first week. Upon its release, I Learned the Hard Way received generally positive reviews from most music critics.

Bosco Mann American musician, record producer and co-founder of Daptone Records

Bosco Manna.k.a.Gabriel Roth is the bass player, bandleader, primary songwriter and producer of the band Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings. He is also a co-founder of the Daptone Records label in Brooklyn, and runs Penrose Studios in Riverside, California.

<i>No Time for Dreaming</i> 2011 studio album by Charles Bradley

No Time for Dreaming is the debut studio album by American soul singer Charles Bradley. It was released on January 25, 2011, by Daptone Records and Dunham Records.

Lee Fields American singer

Elmer "Lee" Fields is an American soul singer, sometimes nicknamed "Little JB" for his physical and vocal resemblance with James Brown. He has worked with Kool and the Gang, Hip Huggers, O.V. Wright, Darrell Banks, and Little Royal. Fields has also worked with such legends such as B.B. King, Clarence Carter, Dr. John, Tyrone Davis, Johnny Taylor, Denise LaSalle, Bobby Blue Bland, Betty Wright, The Manhattans, Little Milton and Bobby Womack. He recorded his first single in 1969 and is still active. His recent work is with The Expressions, including the albums Faithful Man (2012), Special Night (2017), and It Rains Love (2019).

"Minstrel Krampus" is the eighth episode of the tenth season and the 160th overall episode of the animated comedy series American Dad!. It aired on Fox in the United States on December 15, 2013, and is written by Murray Miller and Judah Miller and directed by Josue Cervantes.

<i>Victim of Love</i> (Charles Bradley album) 2013 studio album by Charles Bradley

Victim of Love is the second studio album by American soul singer Charles Bradley. It was released on April 2, 2013, by Daptone Records and Dunham Records.

Low Cut Connie is an American rock and roll band based in Philadelphia, United States, which was formed in 2010. The band has been recognized by various media in the US for their records and high-energy live show, of which the Los Angeles Weekly said "Their ferocious live show...is unmatched in all of rock right now." Frontman Adam Weiner plays a piano named "Shondra," after a dancer at the Clermont Lounge in Atlanta.

<i>Changes</i> (Charles Bradley album) 2016 studio album by Charles Bradley

Changes is the third album released by American funk/soul singer Charles Bradley, released on 1 April 2016 on Daptone Records. The title track on the album is a cover of the Black Sabbath song of the same name and was first released as a Record Store Day Black Friday single in 2013.

Thomas "Tom" Brenneck is an American guitarist and producer known for his work with the The Dap-Kings, Menahan Street Band, and The Budos Band. He is also known as a session musician, frequently for Daptone Records artists. Additionally, he has played guitar for Amy Winehouse and he is one of the musicians featured on "Telepathy" by Christina Aguilera featuring Nile Rodgers. Tom is the founder of Dunham Records, a subsidiary of Daptone Records. The record label originally operated out of Tom's bedroom in Bushwick, Brooklyn and produced iconic hits from artists including Charles Bradley (singer) before eventually moving to a larger space in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

<i>Black Velvet</i> (Charles Bradley album) 2018 studio album by Charles Bradley

Black Velvet is the fourth and final studio album by American funk/soul artist Charles Bradley, released on 9 November 2018. The album release was preceded by two singles, "Can't Fight the Feeling" and "I Feel a Change". The name of the album comes from Bradley's stage name during his time as a James Brown impersonator. The album consists of songs originally recorded for Bradley's three previous studio albums, and was compiled by producer Thomas Brenneck after Bradley's death from cancer in September 2017. Included are covers of "Stay Away" by Nirvana and "Heart of Gold" by Neil Young.

References

  1. "Charles Bradley Bio". Official Website. Archived from the original on April 30, 2011. Retrieved February 14, 2011.
  2. "No Time For Dreaming: Charles Bradley". Allmusic.com. Retrieved February 14, 2011.
  3. "Charles Bradley: No Time For Dreaming". Paste Magazine. Retrieved February 9, 2011.
  4. "Review of Soul of America". etonline.com. Retrieved October 13, 2017.
  5. 1 2 3 4 "Rollo & Grady Interview with Charles Bradley – Rollo & Grady: Los Angeles Music Blog". Rollogrady.com. May 20, 2011. Retrieved June 8, 2012.
  6. 1 2 3 "Charles Bradley, at 62, finally putting his own soul on display for the world – Chicago Tribune". Articles.chicagotribune.com. April 14, 2011. Retrieved June 8, 2012.
  7. 1 2 3 Bradley, Charles (February 26, 2011). "Charles Bradley: An Impersonator Finds His Own Voice". NPR. Retrieved June 8, 2012.
  8. "Charles Bradley can finally talk about his tragic life". YouTube.com. Retrieved September 29, 2017.
  9. Sambides, Nick, Jr. (September 27, 2017). "How a famous soul singer got his start in Maine". Bangor Daily News. Retrieved May 30, 2019.
  10. "Live on Soundcheck: Charles Bradley – WNYC Culture". Culture.wnyc.org. Archived from the original on July 12, 2012. Retrieved June 8, 2012.
  11. Sweeting, Adam (September 24, 2017). "Charles Bradley obituary" . Retrieved September 24, 2017 via www.theguardian.com.
  12. "Charles Bradley played New Year's Eve, playing James Brown tribute as 'Black Velvet' (and other dates)". Brooklynvegan.com. January 9, 2012. Retrieved June 8, 2012.
  13. Andy Downing (February 16, 2012). "Soul man Charles Bradley embraces his heartaches and pain at High Noon : 77-square". Host.madison.com. Retrieved June 8, 2012.
  14. "CHARLES BRADLEY – Daptone Records" . Retrieved May 30, 2019.
  15. "Charles Bradley Film: "Soul of America"". Charlesbradleyfilm.com. Archived from the original on February 13, 2013. Retrieved May 2, 2013.
  16. "Charles Bradley and His Extraordinaires James St. North, Hamilton ON, September 14". Exclaim!, By Calum Slingerland. September 15, 2014
  17. Sullivan, James (February 21, 2013). "Late Bloomer Charles Bradley Eager to Release Second Soul Album". Rolling Stone . Retrieved March 10, 2013.
  18. Charles Bradley "Changes" on YouTube
  19. "Charles Bradley cancels appearance, tour" . Retrieved July 30, 2016.
  20. Coscarelli, Joe (September 24, 2017). "Charles Bradley, a Late-in-Life Soul Music Star, Dies at 68". The New York Times .
  21. Newman, Jason (September 23, 2017). "Charles Bradley, Acclaimed Soul Singer, Dead at 68". Rolling Stone . ISSN   0035-791X.
  22. "Charles Bradley Music Sampled by Others". WhoSampled. Retrieved August 8, 2013.
  23. "Charles Bradley". IMDb.com. Retrieved May 25, 2016.