No Time for Dreaming

No Time for Dreaming

by Charles BradleyCharles Bradley


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On first spin, most listeners won't be able to tell that gutsy soul singer Charles Bradley's Daptone debut wasn't recorded in the late '60s and dusted off for release in early 2011. Subsequent plays reveal subtleties in production and instrumentation that might tip off some, but for the rest, this is a remarkable reproduction of the sound of classic Southern soul. Its combination of Stax and Muscle Shoals grease and grit are captured in what can only be called "the Daptone sound." Horns, percussion, background vocals, vibraphone, and rhythm guitar form a cozy, often sizzling blanket that Bradley wraps himself in. His grainy, lived-in vocals are straight out of the James Brown/Wilson Pickett school; comfortable with both the gospel yearning of slower ballads but ready to make the leap to shouting, searing intensity without warning. The yin-yang between Bradley and his players would be impressive even if the material wasn't as top-shelf as these dozen songs are. All three working in tandem yield a perfect storm of an R&B album, one with clear antecedents to the genre's roots with new songs that are as powerful and moving as tunes from the music's classic era. The band even gets its own showcase on the instrumental, Latin-tinged "Since Our Last Goodbye," perhaps an unusual inclusion on a vocalist's album, but one that strengthens the connection between the backing group and its singer. Bradley has had a tough life, knocking around for years as a lounge act doing covers until the Daptone folks came calling with fresh material and their patented production. That history is evident in every note he sings; pleading, begging, and testifying with a style that few contemporary vocalists can muster without lapsing into parody. Lyrically the material is a mix of the socio-political ("The World Is Going Up in Flames," "Golden Rule"), heartbroken romance ("I Believe in Your Love," "Heartaches and Pain"), and the joys of true love ("Lovin' You Baby"). Some tunes are more personal, especially "No Time for Dreaming" where he's telling himself to get serious about his career, and in "Why Is It So Hard," as he delivers a capsule history of his life-long difficulties. Even if the concepts appear shopworn, the music and performances are vibrant and alive with arrangements that are innovative yet informed by their roots. Retro-soul aficionados who claim they don't make 'em like they used to will obviously be thrilled with this, but even contemporary R&B fans can't help but be moved by the emotion and passion evident in every note of this riveting set.

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Product Details

Release Date: 01/25/2011
Label: Daptone
UPC: 0823134002227
catalogNumber: 22
Rank: 7747


  1. The World (Is Going Up in Flames)
  2. The Telephone Song
  3. Golden Rule
  4. I Believe in Your Love
  5. Trouble in the Land
  6. Lovin' You Baby
  7. No Time for Dreaming
  8. How Long
  9. In You (I Found a Love)
  10. Why Is It so Hard?
  11. Since Our Last Goodbye
  12. Heartaches and Pain

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Charles Bradley   Primary Artist
Sharon Jones   Background Vocals
Victor Axelrod   Organ,Glockenspiel
Bosco Mann   Organ,Bass,Conga
Fernando Velez   Conga
Nick Movshon   Bass
Homer Steinweiss   Drums
Leon Michels   Organ,Piano,Conga,Tenor Saxophone
Thomas Brenneck   Organ,Bass,Guitar,Piano,Drums,Tambourine,Vibes
Toby Pazner   Vibes
Mike Deller   Piano
Daniel Foder   Bass
Cynthia Langston   Background Vocals
Edna Johnson   Background Vocals
Dave Guy   Trumpet
Bobbie Jean Gant   Background Vocals

Technical Credits

Fernando Velez   Composer
Nick Movshon   Composer
Homer Steinweiss   Composer
Leon Michels   Composer
Thomas Brenneck   Composer,Producer
Mike Deller   Composer
Cliff Driver   Vocal Arrangements
J. Quarterman   Composer
Dave Guy   Composer
Charles Bradley   Composer

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