Pullin’ ‘Tubes: Charles Bradley’s Long Journey

As much as we try to stay on top of new releases, every year there’s inevitably is a handful of albums that slip under our collective radars, only managing to grab our attention months down the line. Thus is the case with the with remarkable story behind No Time For Dreaming, the debut record from the 63-year-old soul singer Charles Bradley, which was released via Daptone Records at the beginning of this year. Bradley’s dreams of becoming a musician began all the back in 1962, when his sister took him to see James Brown play The Apollo, but it took Bradley nearly 50 years of hard living to see his goal finally come to fruition. While I highly suggest taking the time to read his official bio, the Brooklyn-born singer spent many years bouncing around the country, which included stints in Maine, Alaska and California, mostly as a chef, while performing gigs on the side, before finally landing back in his native borough at the age of 51.

Bradley, who built a reputation performing around Brooklyn under the moniker of Black Velvet, finally got his big break after Gabriel Roth of Daptone Records saw his gig at Tarheel Lounge in Bedstuy, and invited him to a recording session at the label’s House Of Soul Studios, which led to the release of his first single Take It As It Comes. Bradley’s vintage sound takes the funkiness of James Brown, and the tenderness of Otis Redding, and runs it through the well-worn gruffness and life lessons of the years it finally took to get to have the opportunity to record an album. Let’s check out the music video for the record’s opening track The World (Is Going Up In Flames)…

Charles Bradley & His Extraordinaires will headline a sold-out show this Saturday night at the Bowery Ballroom, before heading out on lengthy world tour early next year, which will kick off on February 3 at The Music Hall in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

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