‘Victim of Love’
The old F. Scott Fitzgerald saying goes that there are no second acts in American lives, but there aren’t any rules about when the first one has to start.
Veteran soul wailer and hard-luck survivor Charles Bradley waited more than 60 years to get his break, and his 2011 debut “No Time For Dreaming,” released on Brooklyn’s Daptone label, was a statement of fact, calling on listeners to wake up to their own stories while taking a walk through his.
With his follow-up, the Screaming Eagle of Soul turns to affairs of the heart.
In Bradley’s calculus, love is a burning thing, the pain of whose presence is only eclipsed by its passing (the album is NOT named “Beneficiary of Love”).
Backed again by the Menahan Street Band, whose vintage arrangements wisely defer to his raw vocals, Bradley is no modernist, preferring the funk of early ’60s James Brown and the socially minded psychedelia of latter-decade Temptations, but “Victim” is no dusty revue. One of soul’s greatest stories is still just getting started.