Thursday, June 16, 2016

James Brown and Black Sabbath Have More In Common Than You Think

Time Spent on book: 5 hours
Words written: Collecting
Grade for the day: B-


For years, Charles Bradley made a living as a James Brown impersonator who went by the name of "Black Velvet." Then, at age 62, he released his debut album. With three albums now under his (Sex Machine?) belt, Bradley's career has taken off in all directions.

I had never heard of Bradley until this morning while listening to (what else?) NPR's music podcast, All Songs Considered. They featured his cover of a Black Sabbath (!!!!) song called, "Changes."

So yea, James Brown meets Ozzy Osbourne and, well... give it a listen:



I was unfamiliar with the Black Sabbath version, but it's not all that different from Bradley's rendition. So this isn't a case of Johnny Cash covering Nine Inch Nails. But it's equally stunning, creative, and captivating. This is even more the case once I learned about the musician.

Indeed, the All Things Considered website has loads more from Bradley, to include performances and an interview about his newest album. Here, he talks about how his mother's recent passing led him to cover Black Sabbath...
 The title track on this album, "Changes," is actually a Black Sabbath song. Had you planned to put it on this record before you mother passed away?
[Producer] Tom Brenneck had asked me to learn that song, and I never heard that song before. But when I listened to the lyrics, the last verses on that song just stuck to my heart. "It took so long to realize / I can still hear her last goodbye." 
One thing [my mother] said: "Son, this world is not your home. You're just passing through." She said, "Keep being a good son. Keep doing the right things you're doing. Maybe the world didn't hear you cry, but in heaven, God heard your cry." 
Check out the rest of the interview. There is a documentary about Bradley too, which I have not seen. But I do have the album loaded up for my next run...

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