Arts & Culture

Review: ‘Black Velvet’ delivers message of love

Winston Heckt, Staff Writer

There’s good news for fans of funk and soul. Daptone Records will release “Black Velvet,” the final album by Charles Bradley, the Screaming Eagle of Soul who sang his way into the hearts of people everywhere until his death last Sept. following a battle with cancer.

      The album features previously unreleased songs that were recorded over the span of the singer’s entire career, including new Charles Bradley originals alongside covers of funk rarities like “(I Hope You Find) The Good Life” as well as rock tunes like Nirvana’s “Stay Away.”

      The title for the album comes from the stage name Bradley used while he sang in a James Brown cover band. It was during one of their performances when Bradley was discovered by Daptone Records co-founder Bosco Mann, and the title alongside the track list pay respect to Bradley’s entire discography. Having been lucky enough to see him in concert before he passed, I can tell you Charles Bradley was one of the best singers and grooviest soul brothers I ever encountered.

      Bradley sang with a blend of tender vulnerability and powerful authenticity that makes each syllable feel as though it were sung just for you. Daptone released the single “I Feel A Change” on all streaming platforms ahead of the album’s Nov. 9 release date, and the song is a textbook Bradley scorcher about love and loss with excellent instrumentation from the Menahan Street Band that disciples of funk have come to expect from the group. The album is available for preorder on vinyl, CD and MP3 download via the Daptone website along with a special box set and t-shirt for the diehard Bradley fanbase. The album’s track-list is as follows:

01 – Can’t Fight The Feeling

02 – Luv Jones

03 – I Feel A Change

04 – Slip Away

05 – Black Velvet

06 – Stay Away

07 – Heart Of Gold

08 – (I Hope You Find)

The  Good Life

09 – Fly Little Girl

10 – Victim Of Love (Electric Version)

    Charles delivered a message of love wherever he could, for as long as he could, and “Black Velvet” seeks to carry on that legacy of love in a time when we need it most.

This article was originally published in the Oct. 19, 2018 issue.