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Album Review

Bradley, Charles – “Black Velvet” – [Daptone Records]

aarbor   3/2/2022   CD, Soul

“Black Velvet” was the name Charles Bradley used when he worked as a James Brown impersonator early in his career. Other names he used were “The Screaming Eagle of Soul” and even “James Brown, Jr.” Gabe Roth (a/k/a Bosco Mann) co-founder of Brooklyn’s Daptone Records discovered Bradley. His debut album was released (on Daptone) in 2011 (he was 62) and he spent the last years of his life recording and touring with Daptone. He died in 2017. This album (his last) was released posthumously in 2018. The Menahan Street Band, with which Bradley recorded for many of his releases, is outstanding here. Some have described this album as a “love letter to his fans”, others as a collection of B-sides. It encapsulates the funky heart and soul of Charles Bradley and has great instrumentals. AArbor

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