Hurricane - Charles Bradley

released as a single in advance of the album Victim Of Love (2013)

I really dig the story of Charles Bradley.  Born in Florida, he was raised in Brooklyn, New York.  After seeing James Brown perform at the Apollo Theatre at an early age, he became hooked on soul and knew he was destined to perform this special brand of music.  But life doesn't always work out according to plan.

His hardscrabble life removed him from NYC, and put him on a journey that included stops in Maine, Alaska, and California. Approaching 60 years-old, he returned to Brooklyn and began performing a James Brown revue under the name "Black Velvet." One night, he was playing at the Tarheel Lounge in Bedford Stuyvesant.  In the audience was Gabriel Roth of Daptone Records. He has been making records for Daptone ever since.

Hurricane is a horn-drenched soul bomb that captures a '70's vibe that instantly puts you in the inner city. Imagine Chicago, Philadelphia, Detroit, NYC, or anywhere else with grit.  The title refers to Hurricane Sandy hitting the New York metro area last October.  It is cool to hear an urban tune about a hurricane.

From the opening grunt, I dig every element of this song.  The way the guitar riff and the keyboard play their call and response game, the drum sound, and the understated bass line all amaze.  But what makes this song work for me is the combination of Charles Bradley's vocals mixed with great background harmonies and a powerful horn arrangement.

There is something special about Charles Bradley's voice.  You can feel a lifetime of soul in every line he delivers.  His moniker of The Screaming Eagle of Soul is perfect.

And hats off to the Menahan Street Band.  Record after record, these guys lay down the groove like nobody else.  When you listen to this song, check out any musician in this band and you will revel in their playing.  They are one of the best backing bands making music today.

Click Here to listen to an 18 minute performance by Charles Bradley and Menahan Street Band on KEXP radio.

Click Here to watch the music video for Strictly Reserved For You, also from Victim Of Love.

Click Here to watch an interview with Charles Bradley.  He is a cool, humble man.

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