Good to Be Back Home
Label: Daptone Records
On his third album, Charles Bradley burns hot. The New York soul singer renders his voice into a hoarse scream, and then an equally raspy half-shout, and manages to convey decades of hard living into the framework of three-minute songs. Much of Changes is familiar territory for him and his fans, but there are a few surprises. “Ain’t It a Sin” is a pip of a funk track that contrasts sharply to the slow, bluesy soul that marks much of this album. His backing group, the Menahan Street Band, tosses a few curveballs, including a horn section on “Nobody But You” that turns a hook from Seals & Crofts’ “Summer Breeze” into stoned soul. But the centerpiece is “Changes,” a Black Sabbath cover that Bradley turns into an epic rumination of weariness and heartbreak.