Wednesday, 6 April 2016

***REVIEW*** Charles Bradley - Changes - Dunham Records

Everybody loves an underdog!

The 2012 "Soul Of America" documentary charted Charles Bradley's fairytale rise to fame from performing as Black Velvet, a James Brown impersonator in dingy clubs, through to releasing "No Time For Dreaming" and then onto realising his dream and subsequently touring his own material worldwide. His debut LP was so strong it was a surprise to most that he topped it musically with the 2013 release of 'Victim Of Love' which was received with great critical acclaim across the Soul scene.

Fast forward and his third full length LP, 'Changes' was released on the 1st April 2016 and hails again from the Daptone subsidiary label Dunham Records.

The thematics of this LP focus on the changes we can make by sharing love and being better to the world as well as one another. The album kicks off with a patriotic monologue acknowledging his roots, difficult beginnings and hard knocks before breaking into a Gospel working of 'God Bless America'. This sets the tone and there is a real humble self awareness in the lyrics across the whole album.

Charles Bradley - Change For The World

The album is nicely paced and dips into smooth soulful numbers like 'Slow Love', 'Nobody But You' and 'Crazy For Your Love' which let The Screaming Eagle Of Soul build and build on the emotion that he is so good at releasing through his music. There are hat tips to the Soul genre with 'Things We Do For Love' (my personal favourite on the LP!) and 'You Think I Don't Know (But I Know) which borrows the fatback drums and piano lick almost identically from Freddie Scott's 1968 sought after 45 'You Got What I Need'.

The stand out moment on the album is Bradley's reworking of 'Changes', a track that he previously released as a limited Black Friday Record Store Day release on 45 back in 2013. He manages to take the Black Sabbath track and give it a heartfelt personal spin by making it an homage to his late mother. By doing this he elevates the record to new heights as well as being faithful enough to Ozzie's original.

Charles Bradley - Changes

Musically the album is as tight as ever with a lineup of musicians including some of The Menahan Street Band and his tour outfit The Extraodinaires, who have been rigorously versed through some tough live schedules with Charles over the last few years. The Album has enough of a modern feeling sound to appeal outside the Soul scene without outshining Charles Bradley's voice. With Daptone's unfalable production and recording skills it also stills maintains a raw and almost analogue feel throughout

Charles Bradley has accomplished more in the last five years than most artists can in a whole lifetime and 'Changes' is yet another step forward for an artist who is by no means at the end of his career. The thing here that lifts this LP above the rest of the pack is that while there are several artists out there at the moment, such as Leon Bridges, that try and encapsulate the retro en vogue sound of Soul, Charles Bradley at 67 years old has lived through that scene first time round. He isn't imitating anything and is just drawing on his own experiences for musical inspiration, which is something money just can't buy!

What you have with 'Changes' is a raw and unedited look into the heart and soul of a man who deserves nothing but the love he projects on his audiences, both in his live act and through his recorded music and as Charles says in his opening monologue, "I sing from my heart!". What more could you ask for?

Available from Daptone Records HERE

Thursday, 4 February 2016

***NEW*** UPHEAVAL - 'COME ON WITH THE COME ON' / 'T.L.C' (Symphonical Records)

Symphonical Records are open for business with their first release. Now Available!!

UPHEAVAL - 'COME ON WITH THE COME ON' / 'T.L.C' (Symphonical Records)

A double-sider comprising two previously unreleased tracks by the group 'Upheaval' which were recorded inside Waupun Correctional Institution.

The 9 piece Wisconsin outfit was formed whilst behind bars, cutting a series of live recordings over a few days in 1979. Several of the group members had no musical training before entering prison, however the band built up its reputation through concerts for inmates, the local public and radio.

Upheaval only had one release to their name, 'Paradise Lost' / 'Now That You're Gone', on their self-titled 'Love' label. Only 25 copies are thought to have been originally pressed, with even less surviving to the present day.

The two tracks on this 45 have not seen the light of day until now. They were recorded live using only 2 microphones and the only surviving 'masters' were in cassette form. Both sides are raw, powerful and soulful - a true upheaval from behind bars.

Price: £8

Sound clips:

PM or email at to place an order

Shipping costs:

UK £2.75 1st class recorded, £6.75 special
Rest of the World £4.75 regular air mail, £9.75 international recorded

Sunday, 10 January 2016

The Hit Git & Split - New Dates For 2016

The Hit Git & Split forthcoming dates at The Howling Hops Tank Bar, Hackney Wick:

Saturday 16th January 2016

Saturday 30th January 2016

Saturday 13th February 2016

Saturday 27th February 2016

Saturday 12th March 2016

Saturday 26th March 2016

Saturday 9th April 2016

Saturday 23rd April 2016

Saturday 7th May 2016

Saturday 21st May 2016

Follow us on Facebook HERE for more information.

Hackney Record Fair - London (06/03/2016)

More Information HERE:

Saturday, 9 January 2016

Vintage Sony Walkman TV Advert (1983)

Next Level Record Dealings

The Skatalites - Dynamite

Charles Bradley - Changes

Brass Gumbo - Keep That Dream Alive

Charlie Says...

Howard Tate - Stop - Richmond Folk Fest (2008)

Joanna Lumley - "Elvis And Me" (2015)

How Could You Buy Me A Damn Bootleg?!

Music For Modern Living: Guest Mix 001 - Ben Gibson (The Hit Git & Split / Mo' Soul)

I am privileged to kick off the new Guest DJ mix series for the Music 4 Modern Living blog with an hours set of goodness from my Hit Git & Split residency at The Howling Hops Tank Bar in Hackney Wick

Peep the article HERE.

Track List

Brenton Wood - The Oogum Boogum Song - Midnight Hour Records 

Howard Tate - Stop - Verve The Isley Brothers - Shout Pt2 - RCA

 Frankie Newsome - Don't Mess With My Lovemaker Pt1 - Savern

Ray Charles - Never Had Enough Of Nothing Yet - Stateside

The Contours - Shake Sherry - Motown 

Rufus Thomas - Willy Nilly - Stax

Roy Brown & His Mighty Mighty Men - Fannie Brown Got Married - King

Ruddy Greene - Juicy Fruit - Ember

Young Jesse - Hit, Git & Spilt - Modern Records 

Billy Nelson With The Five Wings - Pack Shack And Stack Your Blues Away - Savoy

Evelyn Freeman Conducting Exciting Voices & Orchestra - Didn't It Rain - United Artists

Dion - The Wanderer - Philips

Tommy McCook & The Supersonics - The Liquidator - Yew Records

Hopeton Lewis & The Chosen Few - Boom Shaka Laka - Treasure Isle

Lyn Taitt & The Jets - Batman - Merritone

Johnny Osbourne - Buddy Bye - Jammy's Records

Wayne Smith - Under Me Sleng Teng - Greensleeves

Toots & The Maytals - Reggae Got Soul - Island

The Staple Singers - If You're Ready (Come Go With Me) - Stax

The Superlatives - I Don't Know How (To Say I Love You) Don't Walk Away - Westbound Records

Bobby Moore & The Rhythm Aces - Searching For My Love - Checker