Wednesday 4 May 2016

'Changes' by Charles Bradley [Review]

The screaming eagle of soul.  If you've listened to a Charles Bradley album before then you know that's an apt description of his prowess.  The third album release from the marquis act at Daptone's Dunham Records sees Bradley embrace that moniker like never before.  And like no one else could.

The Daptone Records family - and it's extended members - boast an indelible list of vocalists including the power house that is Sharon Jones but Charles Bradley forged his own path following the release of 'The World (Is Going Up In Flames)'.  The ultimate in Cinderella stories, Bradley was discovered by guitarist Thomas Brenneck before releasing his debut album in his early-60s.

With Brenneck again on production for 'Changes' - and also marking the third time that Bradley is backed by Brenneck's Menahan Street Band - the style on this release shifts away from the psychadelic soul of 2013's 'Victim of Love' and steers things back towards more classical soul stylings.

The album's title track sees a brilliant reworking of Black Sabbath's 'Changes', but further highlights come courtesy of 'Nobody But You'and 'Things We Do For Love' and the album's gem 'Slow Love'.  It's a very family affair throughout: although the Menahan Street Band provide the music throughout, they do step aside on two tracks to provide shine for The Budos Band ('Ain't It A Sin' and 'Changes') while Saun & Starr provide additional vocals on songs as do the Gospel Queens.

If you've never purchased a Charles Bradley album, this serves as an excellent introduction so while 2016 is already bursting with quality releases, don't let this one slip through your fingers.

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