If you’re anyone I’ve talked to within the past few weeks about my current listening habits, you can ignore this post as I’ve surely mentioned it at least half a dozen times. If you’re anyone else, and at all interested in amazing funk and/or soul, then have I got something for you…
Some months ago I discovered a gem of an internet radio station, Soulful Bits. The name, in all honesty, is slightly strange, but believe me when I say it’s an incredibly solid source of great funk and soul music—both old and new. I’ve listened to it for hours now, and it’s hard for me to think of hearing more than three or four tracks that I flat out disliked; either I’ve become very easy to please, or this may be one of the best radio stations—ever. Their website is completely French so I have only a small idea of what’s going on there—thanks to the required early ed French classes, Canada—which may help to explain my slight discomfort with the name (poor translation?), but that matters none. My iTunes wish list has grown exponentially since, and one incredible purchase I’ve made based on this is Charles Bradley’s studio debut (with the Menahan Street Band) No Time for Dreaming.
First off is the undeniable presence Charles has on the microphone. At times evocative of James Brown—apparently he covered his music for several years, amongst many other things in a rather storied career and life—he can speak and sing delicately, and then let out one of the rawest, wildest yells I’ve heard in some time. The Menahan Street Band provide flawless backing, creating what I consider an instant classic sound; the fact that this music is only two years old and not fifty-two is unbelievable. And one really cannot discuss this vintage sound without mentioning the record label Dunham, and the mothership of modern funk and soul Daptone Records, whose story is no less inspiring than Bradley’s—Charles, and indeed many of Daptone’s other associated artists, literally helped build the studio.
I could go on and on about what I adore and why, but you should really just go and check out the music.
Original photo via fanart.tv.