Unearthed: Charles Bradley
Posted in Unearthed
Making It In America
No Time For Dreaming is the story of Charles Bradley's rise from less than nothing to current neo-soul trendsetter. Known as "The Screaming Eagle of Soul", Bradley walked hand in hand with an unenviable lifestyle before finding a musical outlet. Bradley was born in the north of Florida in the college town of Gainesville and quickly moved north to Brooklyn. Growing up in Brooklyn exposed him to the saving nature of music. Here occurred the defining moment in Bradley's life; he went to a James Brown concert and immediately began crafting his musical style. After he and his family were placed in an federal program intended to support underprivileged families, he found his way to Maine where he worked mostly as a cook for nine years. Eventually, he decided it was time for a big change and made his way across the United States, through Canada, and into Alaska where he continued to work as a cook. His time on the road was a grueling one, marked by constant hitchhiking and unorthodox confessions from his drivers (apparently one of them confessed and confided in him that he killed his wife and kids). After growing stagnant with the Alaskan lifestyle (no shit), he flew to California where he finally found some sort of normalcy. He spent almost 20 years in California where he made a living by cooking and playing local shows.
What else can happen in this man's lifetime, you ask? Well, after being laid off from his job in California, he moved back to Brooklyn where he performed a James Brown routine under the moniker "Black Velvet". At some point while he was in New York, his nephew murdered his brother and life turned into a bitter shade of gray. Finally, though, came the beacon of hope he was waiting for. While performing as Black Velvet, a representative of Daptone Records, a record company dedicated to reviving the feel of funk and soul music from the 1960s and 1970s, saw his performance, which was filled with raw emotion and pure talent. After telling his story to the people at Daptone, they determined that it must be put into music with the Menahan Street Band providing the musical backdrop. And the rest, as they say, is history...
That is just his story. His music gives listeners spotlight previews of his torment and strife. He belts with the utmost amount of soul that your soul can't help but be affected. He traps listeners; his story is incredibly captivating and it translates uniformly into his music. You cannot help but follow his lead, no matter how dark and bleak the road ahead may appear. You feel his pain, his anger, and his relief.
Purchase Charles Bradley's No Time For Dreaming now on iTunes