Charles Bradley

The late soul singer's final album 'Black Velvet'

Thursday 25th October 2018

Photo: Isaac Sterling

Born in Florida, in 1948, Charles Bradley was the self-proclaimed Screaming Eagle of Soul, who honed his talent walking in the footsteps of James Brown, who he was inspired by after seeing him perform as a young teenager. Moving from place to place in Vietnam War era America working various jobs and singing as a James Brown impersonator to make extra cash, under the name Black Velvet.

It wasn't until the late 1990s when Bradley was in his mid-40s that he moved New York where he was spotted by Bosco Mann, co-founder of independent soul label Daptone Records. It was with Mann and Daptone that began recording in 1996, eventually resulting in his debut album 'No Time For Dreaming' in 2011. The album featured original songs along with cover versions of songs by Nirvana and Neil Young.

In 2012 a documentary 'Soul Of America' won over audiences at SXSW and two further albums followed in 2013 and 2016, the last album 'Changes' taking its name from the Black Sabbath song covered on the record.

A soul man from another era that finally broke through in a new century, sadly Bradley died of cancer in 2017 just 5 years after the singer's debut album release.

In celebration of what would have been his 70th birthday, Daptone will release his fourth and final album 'Black Velvet'. The album is another collection of ten unheard recordings, brought together from the sessions of the previous albums, fronted by the lead track 'I Feel A Change'.

The album comprises material from Bradley's recording career from beginning to end, acting as an untold story of the singer's active years. Charles Bradley's co-writer and producer Tommy 'TNT' Brenneck says of the lead single "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."

Find out more about Charles Bradley and Black Velvet at

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