This Month

Each month we select three records for our Featured Indie, Essential Reissue and Outlier categories

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Featured

Charles Bradley / Black Velvet

Charles was truly a transcendent singer who led a remarkable life, overcoming unimaginable adversity to achieve great success and international acclaim very late in his life. What was really special about him and made him different from everybody else in the world was how he understood his pain as a cry for universal love and humanity. He felt that if he loved enough–-if we all loved each other enough—we could take away the world’s pain and sadness. That is why he jumped off the stage and literally tried to hug everybody he could. It's why he took such great care of a mother that had abandoned him. It's why he sang and danced like a lunatic. It's why he screamed like an eagle. And that's why we love him.

Black Velvet is a celebration of Charles Bradley, lovingly assembled by his friends and family at Dunham/Daptone Records. Though chronologically the material spans Charles' entire career, this is no anthology, "greatest hits" or other shallow rehashing of the songs that already made him famous. Rather, this album is a profound exploration through the less-travelled corners of the soulful universe that Charles and his longtime producer, co-writer and friend Thomas "TNT" Brenneck created in the studio together over their decade-long partnership.

It features new songs recorded during the sessions from each of his three albums, heard here for the very first time in all their scorching glory: "Can't Fight the Feeling," "Fly Little Girl" and the heart-wrenching "I Feel a Change"; hardcore rarities like his funk-bomb duet with LaRose Jackson, "Luv Jones," the psychedelic groover, "(I Hope You Find) The Good Life" and the ever-illusive alternate full band electric version of "Victim of Love"; sought-after covers of Nirvana's "Stay Away," Neal Young's "Heart of Gold" and Rodriguez' "Slip Away"; and the title track "Black Velvet," a stirring Menahan Street Band instrumental to which Charles was never able to cut a vocal.

Through the years, the touring was non-stop. Bradley played all the big festivals – Glastonbury, Primavera Sound, Coachella (twice!). He was named Road Warrior and Hardest Working Artist by A2IM’s Libera Awards and Paste Magazine declared him the "Best Live Act of 2015" list. They performed on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, Conan and more, and their performance on CBS This Morning Saturday was nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding On-Camera Musical Performance.

Bradley was on tour supporting Changes in the UK when debilitating stomach pains landed him in a hospital. A few weeks later, he was diagnosed with stomach cancer. Though the treatment was intense, Charles continued to tour and record as much as he could for the next year. He was dedicated to giving his fans every last drop of himself.
On September 23rd, 2017, Charles Edward Bradley passed away, surrounded by his family, friends and bandmates.
Essential Reissue

The Glands / The Glands

There is an enormous and curiously shaped hole in the story of the Glands, the on-again/mostly off-again duo or quartet or sometimes quintet but let’s just say band from Athens, Georgia, who released only two albums of weird, irascible, irresistible indie rock before Ross Shapiro died in 2016. He wrote the songs, he sang the songs, he played guitar, and he gathered around him a bunch of close friends to play along. He inspired many people around town, frustrated many others, and generally proved to be a painstaking artist with an ear for catchy melodies, a very grim sense of humor, a taste for reheated Dunkin Donuts coffee, a supernaturally exhaustive knowledge of Grateful Dead bootlegs, and a creativity that extended beyond music to the strange portraits he painted and the odd shapes he sculpted.

Outlier

Doc Watson / Live At Club 47

Recorded live February 10, 1963 at Club 47 in Cambridge, MA, today known as Club Passim, this never-before-heard album features four previously unreleased songs from Doc’s early repertoire, in addition to performances of Doc’s favorite songs of the Carter Family, Frank Hutchison, Charlie Poole, and Merle Travis. Doc is accompanied by John Herald and Ralph Rinzler of The Greenbrier Boys on five of the album’s tracks.

“This recording documents a pivotal moment in virtuoso Doc Watson’s early solo career,” notes Steven Weiss, director of the Southern Folklife Collection. “This is Doc, paying his dues and playing his heart out, performing two sets of classic, old-time country songs he learned as a child from his family and from old 78 RPM records.”

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