Sad news arrived over the weekend when it emerged that American soul singer, Charles Bradley, sadly passed away aged 68. He had been fighting a battle with liver cancer, which he unfortunately lost on September 23 when he died in Brooklyn, New York.
While cutting his teeth as a James Brown impersonator, Bradley was dubbed ‘The Screaming Eagle Of Soul’, all the time working odd jobs as a handyman to make ends meet. He would start going under the stage name ‘Black Velvet’ from 1996, eventually being discovered by Gabriel Roth of Daptone Records.
Early recordings from Bradley would make up his stunning 2011 debut album, No Time For Dreaming. From there, it would help propel the soul man into a more mainstream audience, affording him the opportunity to play landmark sets and Glastonbury, Coachella, Primavera Sound, and more.
In 2013, Bradley would release Victim Of Love, which would become his most successful album, critically and commercially. It was an intensely personal record for Bradley, with stirring tracks such as You Put The Flame On It, Where Do We Go From Here, and the excellent title track. It was a modern classic soul record, put Bradley in the same league as greats like Al Green, Steve Wonder, and of course, James Brown.
Bradley then released what we now know as his final album in 2016. It included a cover of the Black Sabbath track, Changes, which gave was also chosen as the album title. It received just as much praise as Victim Of Love from fans and media alike, and rightfully so. It is now the swansong album that helped cement Bradley’s legacy as one of the greatest, most unique voices in modern soul, and long may his memory live on.
Rest In Peace, Charles.
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