Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Charles Bradley & The Budos Band Deliver a Riveting, Hyper-emotive Soul-Funk Rendition of Black Sabbath's "Changes" (Dunham/Daptone Records)

Daptone Records' own revered Soul-Funk crooner The Screamin' Eagle of Soul, better known as 67-year-old Charles Bradley, a former James Brown impersonator who once went by "Black Velvet," is hearing up to unleash his third studio album this upcoming April 1st, 2016, Changes. Bradley's Menahan Street Band, The Budos Band, and The Bullets-assisted album is the proper follow-up to 2013's Victim of Love, and his debut No Time for Dreaming two short years prior, Changes takes its name and overall running theme from a similarly-titled Black Sabbath Vol. 4 track, which Daptone exclusively released as a Record Store Day 7-inch back in 2013. Interestingly enough, Black Keys frontman Dan Auerbach's recently-premiered Psych-Rock side project The Arcs features three rotating members of The Menahan Street BandNick Movshon, Homer Steinweiss, and El Michels Affair founder Leon Michels – who spearheaded a retro-futuristic Funk-leaning sound, which undoubtedly influenced Auerbach during the making of their Nonesuch Records debut Yours, Dreamily. "Changes"' companion music video director Eric Feigenbaum recently told Rolling Stone that he boldly nixed an earlier idea to film on location in Times Square, in lei of hyper-emotive footage of Charles Bradley reacting to "Changes" in real time; "We only did that once, [but] by the end of the take, everybody was holding back tears."

"I think about the lyrics very closely when I sing "Changes" and get emotional... It makes me think of my mother and the changes in my life since she passed," The Screamin' Eagle of Soul himself continued in an accompanying statement released in conjunction with Changes' album announcement. Charles Bradley & The Budos Band are effectively able to deliver a riveting, emotionally-driven rendition of Black Sabbath's sparse Blues-indebted 1970's Heavy Metal ballad. It's delivered in a similar fashion to that of Johnny Cash's Rick Rubin-facilitated Nine Inch Nails "Hurt" cover, albeit Bradley and his Daptone Records affiliates have morphed a subdued piano-driven mid-album breather into a silky smooth Soul-Funk tear-jerker, rather than a Neo-Country ballad. However, this isn't exactly Charles Bradley & The Menahan Street Band/Budos Band's first go-round executing a nearly flawless genre-flipping cover; as part of various albums and compilations, they've previously covered Nirvana's "Stay Away," Rodriguez's "I'll Slip Away," and Neil Young's "Heart of Gold" (most recently performed alongside Dinosaur Jr). Daptone Records' sister imprint Dunham will release Charles Bradley's third studio album, fittingly titled Changes this upcoming April 1st, although specific album details are currently unavailable.

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