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Charles Bradley

Soul and R&B singer Charles Bradley definitely didn’t arrive as a recording artist by taking the easy route. Born in Gainesville, Florida in 1948, but raised in Brooklyn, New York, Bradley spent a good part of his childhood living on the streets. A transformational moment came when his sister took him to see James Brown at the Apollo in 1962. Bradley was struck by Brown's energy and stage manner, and began practicing microphone tricks with a broom at home, dreaming of being a star on his own stage, and it was a dream he would never abandon in spite of all sorts of mishaps, misdirects, and general hard times.

Bradley escaped Brooklyn by joining the federal program Job Corps, which took him to Bar Harbor, Maine, where he learned to cook, a profession he was to fall back on time and time again. He also put together a band in Maine and began playing local gigs. The band didn’t last long, though, and when most of its members were drafted, and with the Vietnam War hanging in the air, Bradley moved to Wassaic, New York, where he worked as a cook at a hospital for the mentally ill. Nine years later, he left that position and hitchhiked west, ending up in Alaska for a time before moving to California, again taking a job as a chef, and for the next 20 years, he performed music on the side, playing whatever gigs he could find. When he was laid off from his position, though, he began to doubt his decision to live so far from where he grew up.

Bradley eventually relocated back to Brooklyn, this time working at odd jobs instead of returning to being a chef. He never let go of his musical dreams, and he began performing his James Brown-inspired routines in such local clubs as Black Velvet, attracting a loyal following and eventually capturing the attention of Gabriel Roth from Daptone Records. Roth immediately brought the fiery singer into label sessions, releasing a single, "Take It as It Comes," that showed what Bradley had to offer as a vocalist. Roth also introduced Bradley to Thomas Brenneck, then a guitarist, songwriter, and home producer for Dirt Rifle & the Bullets. The pair had an affinity for each other musically, and together they released two singles on Daptone as Charles Bradley & the Bullets before the actual group by that name disbanded (most of the members went in an Afro-beat direction with the Budos Band).

Brenneck and Bradley continued to work together, and after Bradley told him about waking up in his home one morning to discover his nephew had shot and killed his brother, Brenneck suggested they tell the story in music as a catharsis and as a cautionary tale. The result, tracked with the Menahan Street Band, was a pair of impassioned singles, “The World (Is Going Up in Flames)” and “Heartaches and Pain,” which Brenneck released on his Daptone sub-imprint Dunham Records. These weren’t songs drawn from Bradley's Black Velvet act, but were instead highly personal and striking outings that put his own emerging voice as a singer and songwriter at the center of things. A full album for Dunham, No Time for Dreaming, appeared early in 2011. Bradley received global acclaim for the album, and toured relentlessly to support it. His follow-up, Victim of Love, was released in the spring of 2013.~ Steve Leggett, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

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Track List: Heart Of Gold (Single)

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Track List: Strictly Reserved For You (Single)

Comments

such a fine musician
Dusty blue follow for follow
The Screaming Eagle of Soul!!!!!
saw him twice this year at the new orleans jazz festival and the state room in Salt Lake City, amazing amazing amazing artist, and the band that backs him now is pretty sweet as well
If you get a chance to see him live, do it! I discovered him from going to see Budos Band a few years ago and he was the opener. I was just as pleased with his performance as I was with Budos.
This is excellent music. Both albums!
Incredible shows both at Jazz Fest and then One Eyed Jacks! You can see his soul in his face and the love in his voice...bles s e d to hear his music!
He's playing at Jazz Fest this weekend, will definitely check him out
mrwes89
sounds like a real live sample. living history that you can feel and hear..
''ive got your looooove.. on reserve'!! haha
A breathe of fresh air. More more more
Bradley is excellent and struggled for so long before making a name for himself, if you like Charles Bradley, definitely check out Lee Fields (also on Daptone Records)... Fields is amazing and like Bradley is even better live
best new artist I have found in a long time. Rises to the level of national treasure
jordi_fitnes s f o r l i f e
Just saw Charles with the Menahan Street Band @ Royce Hall, UCLA last night - an incredible singer, an amazing band and a fantastic show!!!
Suits turned me on to this fabulous singer.
acp8689
perfect for a rainy morning (:
good vibes! love it.
Love this music.
loving thisartist he rocks for a old dude ..

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