Black Velvet (Charles Bradley) – music review

It’s always hard to say goodbye and when Charles Bradley passed away on 23 September 2017, there was a moment where music just stopped. It was especially hard because the screaming eagle of soul had plenty of music in him but with his untimely passing and later in life releases (his debut was released in 2011 at age 62) it just felt even worse. Well, Black Velvet is a definite cushion to that blow and is a final celebration to this talented man.

Black Velvet features new songs recorded during the sessions from each of his three albums that also includes solid covers of Nirvana’s “Stay Away,” Neal Young’s “Heart of Gold” and a swinging upbeat take of Rodriguez’s “Slip Away” that’s fantastic.” These types of posthumous albums can always run the risk of trying to create something that simply isn’t there but Black Velvet avoids that vibe because it truly highlights Bradley’s raw talent. He could bust out a note with 110% behind it no matter what lyrics were in front of him. It is also interesting to note here that the title track is a Menahan Street Band instrumental as Charles was never able to cut the vocals. This song spotlights that Charles was not alone on his journey as the band shines bright with him.

If you were a fan of Charles Bradley, Black Velvet is a must. It gives closure and is the perfect end cap to his catalogue. Long live the Screaming Eagle of Soul!

Christopher Anthony
For more of Christopher Anthony’s music reviews, check out The Fire Note

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