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Charles Bradley and The Menahan Street Band in San Diego

Charles Bradley
Charles Bradley
Courtesy Photo

Charles Bradley is a renaissance man. Part singer, dancer, cook and shaman; he’s lived a storied life that has taken him across the country and around the globe. Born in Gainesville, Florida in 1948, Bradley spent his adolescence on the streets of Brooklyn, New York where in 1962 his sister would take him to a James Brown concert and change his life forever.

Over the years Bradley would practice Brown’s mannerisms and moves, becoming so good at replicating at his performance that he would eventually create his own James Brown tribute act dubbed, “Black Velvet.” In 2000 Bradley was discovered by Daptone Records label head Gabriel Roth when he caught Bradley’s “Black Velvet” act at the Tar-Heel Lounge and recognized his talent signing him to a recording contract on the spot. Roth would go on to introduce Bradley to musician Thomas Brenneck, an established musician around New York that performs with The Budos Band, El Michels Affair and Bradley’s own backing band, The Menahan Street Band. Together both Brenneck and Bradley would work on fleshing out the sounds on Bradley’s long overdue debut album, No Time For Dreaming. Released in March 2011, through Dunham Records (a subsidiary of Daptone Records and Brenneck’s own personal imprint) No Time For Dreaming captures Bradley in peak form as he takes listeners on a soulful journey of heartache, pain and the inevitable salvation through music.

Following successful tours of Europe and Australia in 2010, and a breakthrough performance at this year’s SxSW, Bradley and The Menahan Street Band recently embarked on a brief tour of the West Coast where SanDiego.com caught up with them as they sound checked, and discovered when the next Menahan Street Band album is coming out, and that despite Bradley’s more than 40 years as a cook; he had never tried a carne asada burrito before in his life.

No Time For Dreaming is available now on Dunham Records