Taking a short break from my anxieties to post a review of the new Charles Bradley CD which came out a few weeks ago on Daptone Records. (What do you need reviews for anyway? If it's on Daptone, just buy it.)
CHARLES BRADLEY – Victim of Love
BY JENNIFER KELLY
The “Screaming Eagle of Soul” cut his first album at age 62, after a lifetime of hard knocks, homelessness, brushes with death and a long-standing gig as a James Brown impersonator. Here, on his second, Charles Bradley branches out with his sound, wrapping his raspy, growly, velvet-rubbed-the-wrong-way voice around classic Stax horn ballads (“Strictly Reserved for You”), Barry White-esque hormonal croons (“Victim of Love”) and Farfisa-infused, slapped-and-popped funk a la James Brown himself (“Where Do We Go From Here”) and one blown-out trip into psychedelia (“Confusion”). Bradley sounds most like Otis Redding, in his “Dock of the Bay” down-tempo moments and his “Try a Little Tenderness” squawks, yelps and howls, but you can also hear echoes of Marvin Gaye, James Carr and, most particularly, O.V. Wright, whose “Drowning on Dry Land” is the only old-style soul song I can think of this with level of desperation and release.