Charles Bradley – A Tribute

Charles Bradley

On Saturday past, word reached us that the “Screaming Eagle Of Soul”, Mr Charles Bradley had passed away after losing his battle with cancer. To say we were sad is an understatement. Much like Sharon Jones before him, Charles fought the cancer as we all knew he would and got back on the road doing what he loved best – performing live to sell out audiences. Sadly like Sharon, the cancer was to return and ultimately take his life. He was 68.

Today, I’d like to remember Charles for his amazing music and his inspirational life story. When I first heard his voice some time ago, I was drawn by the emotion and power that was coming from him. I had to find out more about him and realised that he was a “new” discovery on the Daptone label. As you know, we here at Gazfunk are huge fans of Daptone and so over the next few years set out to buy each 45 that was released. The track I have chosen to feature today is one such release – “The World Is Going Up In Flames” released in 2007.

Charles Bradley - The World Is Going Up In Flames

I’ve been fortunate to see Charles perform live twice – once as part of the Daptone Super Soul Revue in Vienna and in Belfast on his UK & Ireland tour. I never got to meet the great man when he played in Belfast even though I was hanging out with the band backstage after the show as Charles retired to his hotel room early as he got a little spooked by a somewhat over zealous fan. Welcome to Belfast, Charles!!

Charles Bradley

I should say, if you haven’t yet watched the docu-film “The Soul Of America” I’d highly recommend it. The film shows one man’s challenges in everyday life and is a touching and inspirational tale of one of the greatest performers of modern times. R.I.P. Charles, we love you!!

Benjamin & The Right Direction -Light Of My Life

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It’s not very often that I get to bring you some latin soul from my collection, much less so something new but that’s exactly what I have for you today. Released in September last year on the obscure Palmetto St Recording Co and distributed via Daptone Records, Light Of My Life evokes memories of that late 6os/early 70s Nu-Yorica sound that was sweeping through The Big Apple.

I first heard it a couple of weeks after it’s release upon a visit to a record store in San Antonio during my U.S. Tour (the excellent Friends Of Sound) where two of my buddies worked. After digging for a few hours one of the guys asked the other had he played this 45 for me. Upon releasing he hadn’t, he dropped the needle on the record and within the opening few seconds I knew that I had to have a copy. For the sum of around $7, I was able to grab one and leave the store a happy boy with this and a few other purchases.

During my tour this 45 proved to be tremendously popular – pretty much every gig in Texas that I played, one of my fellow djs would spin this track to a great reaction from the crowd, but that also meant I never got to play it out! Ah well – maybe some time!

Fast forward to 2017 and this record is very much in demand after selling out almost immediately. If you slept in at the time you’ll have to part with £65+ for one which is remarkable for a track that is only about 4 months old. I hope you dig it!

 

Lee Fields & The Expressions – Make The World

Lee Fields - Make The World

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Happy New Year to you all. I hope 2017 finds you in good health. I’m personally glad to see the back of 2016 as there were quite a number of negative events during the year for me personally. Hopefully this year is a bit more settled.

Whilst I’m not really someone who dwells on the previous year, I’d like to bring you a record from last year that was to my ears, one of the best releases of 2016, courtesy of the mighty Lee Fields.

I’m sure many of you are aware of the history of Lee Fields – from his early releases in the 70s and his return to prominence in the early 2000s as a member of the Daptone family. This release came out on Big Crown records, a label I had never heard of before but they really deliver the goods on this funk banger! I’ve decided to feature the instrumental b side as it’s just a little bit heavier and funkier, but the a-side still kicks ass! Hope you dig this one!

 

 

Sharon Jones – A Tribute

ACL3407SharonJones.jpg

This week I had planned to bring you some more pictures from my U.S. Tour but events on Friday night/Saturday morning put paid to that with the news filtering through of the passing of Sharon Jones at the age of 60.

It’s with a heavy heart that I write this tribute as it’s something I hoped I wouldn’t have to do, especially not for a long time anyway given Sharon’s young age. Even though I knew that the cancer that Sharon was diagnosed with back in 2013 had returned, like many of you I hoped and believed this strong woman with her indomitable spirit would prevail for a second time. Sadly it wasn’t to be as she slipped away on Friday surrounded by her family and most of the Dap-Kings.

So today rather than feeling sad, I’d like to remember her for her amazing ability, not just as a performer but as a person who lit up any room she entered and always remained happy and positive no what matter the circumstances. She leaves an enduring legacy that won’t have failed to connect with any fan of funk or soul music and a catalogue of songs that ensures her place in the pantheon of the all time great soul artists.

sjdk

My first introduction to the world of Sharon Jones (and her Dap-Kings) came way back in 2002 with the uber funky “Pick It Up Lay It In The Cut”. This track had everything I was looking for at the time with a fantastic beat, groovy guitar and a horn section coming together to evoke the sound of The J.B.’s. I have to admit – at that time, I didn’t actually realise that what I was listening to came from a modern band – the sound was so true to the 70s funk style that I was starting to immerse myself in that I just assumed that it was from some obscure act from that time.

Shortly after that (maybe a year or so) I heard another of the band’s songs – their groovy take on Janet Jackson’s “What Have You Done For Me Lately?” (a record that we have previously featured here on Gazfunk.) I remembered that this was the same artist who recorded “Pick It Up Lay It In The Cut” and so I set out to find out more about the band. To my surprise I found that they weren’t some obscure 70s funk outfit, but indeed a modern day band from Brooklyn who started out in 1996 as The Soul Providers (releasing a series of singles on the now defunkt Desco label) before joining forces with The Mighty Imperials to create the Dap-Kings, the house band on the new Daptone label.

I quickly bought both singles that I had heard and over the next decade or so bought most of the band’s single and album releases and spent a lot of time extoling the virtues of Sharon and the band as well as regularly dropping some of the 45s into my dj sets.

With the group being from New York and me living in Belfast, opportunities were few and far between for me to catch one of their legendary live shows until 2014 when they appeared at the Roundhouse in Camden. Finally a near decade long ambition had been fulfilled!! I was able to catch the band a couple of times after that and despite her illness, Sharon always performed like the true professional that she was.

sharon-jones-the-dap-kings-people-dont-get-what-they-deserve

So the record I’m going to feature for you today (it really could be any one of a dozen or more) was something that was only given away to a limited number of people who bought a special pack of the “Give The People What They Want” LP. The track is called “People Don’t Get What They Deserve” and perhaps is a fitting tribute to a supremely talented lady who never quite enjoyed the success she deserved. R.I.P. Sharon and deepest condolences to your family, friends and the Daptone family. X

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VmLl21gZjfM