Charles Bradley is no stranger to hard times. Born in Gainesville, Florida, in 1948 and raised in Brooklyn, New York, he spent the better part of his childhood living on the streets. One of the more optimistic moments of his childhood came in 1964, when his sister took him to see James Brown live at The Apollo. Brown’s energy and showmanship would form a lasting impression on Charles. He went home and immediately began practicing microphone tricks with a broom attached to a string, imitating the Godfather’s every move. With his newfound inspiration came an urgent desire to get off the streets and make something of himself.
Forty years later, Charles was still trying to make ends meet, still trying to make it as a musician. He was performing James Brown routines under his alter ego "Black Velvet" when Gabriel Roth of Daptone Records happened upon his show at the Tar-Heel Lounge in Bed Stuy. Roth recognized his raw talent and directly brought him into the studio for a session with The Sugarman 3.
Meanwhile, Thomas Brenneck, a young guitar player and aspiring producer from Staten Island was stepping into the Brooklyn soul scene. In time, the two became close friends and Charles confided his whole life story in Brenneck. Moved by Bradley’s painful story and the tragic death of his brother, Brenneck told him, "Charles, we gotta put that story to music."
The result is "No Time For Dreaming," a captivating, raw and honest soul record. At the end of the song "Golden Rule," Charles explains, "Now you feel my heart and know I'm for real." This record is the real Charles Bradley. This is his story.
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