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Charles Bradley - Stream the Final Album

Black Velvet Out Now via Dunham/Daptone

Nov 09, 2018 Charles Bradley
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Modern soul legend Charles Bradley passed away in September 2017 due to cancer at age 68. Back in September the labels Dunham and Daptone announced a final Bradley album, Black Velvet. The album is out today, which is four days after what would have been his 70th birthday. Now that the album is out, you can stream the whole thing below.

Black Velvet features 10 studio recordings “never before included on any album.” Bradley’s longtime producer, co-writer, and friend Tommy “TNT” Brenneck put together the album. Previously two songs from the album were shared: “I Feel a Change” (via a video) and “Can’t Fight the Feeling.”

The album includes never before heard new studio songs recorded during the sessions for his previous albums (“Can’t Fight the Feeling,” “Fly Little Girl,” and “I Feel a Change”). There are rarities, including LaRose Jackson duet “Luv Jones,” “(I Hope You Find) The Good Life,” and the alternate full band electric version of “Victim of Love.” Then there are covers, including Nirvana’s “Stay Away,” Neil Young’s “Heart of Gold,” and Rodriguez’s “Slip Away.” The title track, “Black Velvet,” is a Menahan Street Band instrumental to which Bradley was never able to record a vocal for.

In the previous press release, producer Brenneck had this to say about “I Feel a Change,” which was recorded during the Victim of Love sessions: “Horns and organ were recorded later adding a haunting beauty to the otherwise a cappella intro. The lyrics are 100% Charles. Personal yet abstract. Directly from the heart. He truly loved the expression ‘going through changes’ and this was a few years before we would record our rendition of Sabbath’s ‘Changes’ with the Budos. Sadly Charles never got to hear the finished version of this beautiful song.”

Bradley became a successful musician late in life. 2011’s debut album, No Time for Dreaming, was released when Bradley was 62. Soul of America, Poull Brien’s documentary on Bradley, followed in 2012. Bradley then released two more albums, 2013’s Victim of Love and 2016’s Changes.

All throughout he was a tireless and energetic performer, still channeling James Brown (whom he once impersonated), but now with his own music. Performing to his limit in his 60s garnered him respect and acclaim. Bradley also had a special bond with his audiences. As he told us in an interview in 2016: “When you look at the expressions on the people’s faces, and you can see some of your own life in their faces and the changes that some people are going through. That’s why sometimes I like to go into the audience and just hug them, especially when I see someone hurting. People come to the front of the stage, and they whisper in my ear and tell me about their personal lives.”

Bradley sometimes performed with label-mate Sharon Jones, another modern soul legend who also found success late in life and passed away due to cancer in 2016.

Read our 2016 interview with Bradley about Changes.

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April 11th 2019
12:05pm

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April 11th 2019
1:14pm

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