Review: Charles Bradley – Victim Of Love

Posted on: Wednesday, Mar 27, 2013

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Charles Bradley – Victim Of Love

 (Daptone Records: DAP 031)

You may, or may not, be aware that the latest soul star in the Daptone universe is the veteran/newcomer Charles Bradley; he emerged two years ago with his debut album “No Time For Dreaming,” this, was at the tender age of 62. Up to this point the culmination of his ‘off and on’ forty year career in music was his performance as ‘Black Velvet,’ a high energy, lung bursting James Brown tribute act.

However, after his meeting with Daptone’s Gabe Roth in New York a couple of years ago, his whole world has changed from being a James Brown tribute act to a genuine soul headliner with the fan christened moniker of ‘The Screaming Eagle of Soul.’

“Victim of Love,” his second album, veers away from the effects of years of endured pain and hardship as described on his debut, to an atmosphere of hope, determination and thankfulness.

With the razor sharp support of The Menahan Street Band under the very fine direction of guitarist/producer Thomas Brenneck the eleven numbers here encompass influences from labels such as; Atlantic, Stax, Motown, Philadelphia, Sound Stage Seven and Curtom to name but a few.

When you hear Charles’s roughly ‘broken glass’ soft vocals entwined with the heart piercing and sweetly sighing brass of Dave Guy; trumpet and Leon Michels; saxophone on numbers such as; “Victim Of Love,” Through The Storm,” “Strictly Reserved For You” and “Let Love Stand A Chance,” they together beautifully evoke fond memories of Otis Redding and James Carr at their most sublime.

Thomas Brennecks’ judicious use of fuzz guitar and well placed flute lifts the somewhat seventies psychedelic feel of “Love Bug Blues” and “Confusion,” to a  higher plain. It should also be noted that the entire musical landscape of the album is securely underpinned with the earthy and pulsing rhythm section of Nick Moyshon; bass, Homer Steinweiss; drums and Mike Deller; organ.

To some ears the sound may appear to be retro, plastic and indulgent nostalgia for the few? But no, this may well intrinsically be from the black and white past of the sixties but, it is also alive, fresh, and full of vigour, incorporating the vibrancy of life that combines all the hopes, emotions and yearnings still felt today.

Highly recommended!


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