More soul vibes on the way into FRUK. With last weeks intro to Michael Kiwanuka we head across the water to the US to introduce you to the hardened Charles Bradley who was raised in Brooklyn.
Charles Bradley’s voice has that lived in hardtimes imprinted rawness, a reflection of his personal hardship and struggles. Fate has played its hand in a big way but not without its casualties. Whilst making a living as a chef in California he was about to make his first down payment on his first home but was laid off. After some careful re-evaluation about his future he headed back to his home of Bushwick, Brooklyn where he took up as a handyman to pay the bills whilst pursuing his musical career. He began to perform a James Brown tribute act which began to prove popular but just as things seemed to be getting back on an even keel he awoke at his mother’s house one morning to the sound of police sirens. His brother had been shot and killed by his nephew.
He hit an all time low and was down and out. It was by chance that Gabriel Roth of Daptone Records came across him performing his James Brown act. Two singles were released with a James Brown inspired funk band called The bullets. Thomas Brenneck, the songwriter and guitarist with The Bullets became a close friend and a significant figure in making Charles Bradley’s dreams a reality.
Brenneck crossed paths with Bradley some time later and after hearing the heartbreaking story about his brother’s murder he persuaded Bradley to put his experiences to songs. After a some hard grafting No Time For Dreaming was released on Brenneck’s own Dunham Records a division of Daptone.
The album is the realisation of a dream come true and the awakening of a great raw talent. The energy in his voice and delivery is testament to a man waiting to break out. He finally has his day!
Photo Credit: Paul Bertolino