Charles Bradley, "Victim of Love" (Dunham)
Charles Bradley is preoccupied with love on his latest album, but it's something of a stylistic leap on a handful of songs that makes his latest album stand out.
Buried at the center of the album is a small run of fuzzy songs that push Bradley into rockin' psychedelic territory and add a different dimension to the 64-year-old soul shouter's sound. More important, they should fit right in onstage, where "The Screaming Eagle of Soul" truly shines.
Bradley's Menahan Street Band opens "Love Bug Blues" with a vibrato horn solo meant to mimic the sound of a buzzing bee, then launches into a vibrant funk line that fits the former James Brown impersonator's aged voice perfectly. The band extends the run through the intermission instrumental "Dusty Blue," with its shimmery keys and breathy woodwinds.
Then Bradley and band really crank things up with "Confusion," laying down a fuzztone bass line with echoey vocals and a staccato horn line, back to back with the towering "Where Do We Go From Here" — both among their best work together.
"Victim of Love" is added proof Bradley is more than a soul revivalist. He's something special.
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