Last month, Charles Bradley and the Menahan Street Band stopped by our studio to deliver a special joint session for KEXP listeners. The Menahan Street Band — featuring members from the NYC Daptone Records soul and funk world including the Budos Band, Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings, and Antibalas — has been backing up Bradley for years now, since bringing him onto the scene, but they’re also touring in support of their own 2012 Daptone Records release, The Crossing. So, for this special live session in our studio, we got a double dose: first, the Menahan Street Band, warmed up the room with two songs from The Crossing, “Lights Out” and “Three Faces,” and then “The Screaming Eagle of Soul” himself, Charles Bradley performing two classics from his Daptone debut, No Time For Dreaming, “How Long” and the heartbreakingly soulful “Lovin’ You Baby.”
And if you’re amazed that a man his age and of this talent has only released a debut album, you should check out the film Soul of America, which follows Bradley’s rise to his current success. Charles Bradley has been through serious hardships in his life and has risen above it all to finally, after all these years, find widespread success and a record deal to match his incredible talent. All the pain and joy of his experience, and his unwavering dedication to music-making ever since he saw James Brown perform at the Apollo in ’62, is present in his voice. Check the performances below for yourself. The follow-up to No Time For Dreaming, featuring the Menahan Street Band is titled Victim of Love will be released by Daptone on April 2, 2013.