DCS: charles bradley

the screaming eagle of soul

In 1962, Charles Bradley was taken to the venerable Apollo Theater by his sister to see a performance by energetic soul singer James Brown. Charles was inspired. He soon left home to escape poor living conditions and found himself on the streets, homeless and sleeping on subway cars at night. He found salvation with the federally-funded Job Corps who placed him in Bar Harbor, Maine, where he trained as a cook. A co-worker, noting Charles’ resemblance to James Brown, asked if he could sing. A shy Charles first said no, then relented, explaining that he had been mimicking Brown’s vocal style and stage maneuvers for years. He began performing locally, until his band mates were all drafted into military service during the Vietnam War. That band never reformed.

In the early 90s, he saw his share of life difficulties. Charles almost died in a hospital after an allergic reaction to penicillin. Another time, Charles was awakened to a commotion as police and ambulances were arriving to the scene of his brother’s murder just down the street.

Charles made his way across the United States, performing under the stage name “Black Velvet,” doing a James Brown tribute show.  During one of his shows, Charles caught the attention of Gabriel Roth,  co-founder of Daptone Records. Roth introduced Charles to his future producer Tom Brenneck, then the songwriter and guitarist for The Bullets, who invited Charles to his band’s rehearsal. At the rehearsal, the humbled singer asked that the band simply perform while he made up lyrics on the spot.

In 2011, Daptone released Charles Bradley’s debut, No Time for Dreaming. Charles was 63 years old. He released two more albums to critical acclaim and toured extensively. His performances became legendary, noted for the concluding ritual of Charles offering hugs to anyone who asked.

In August 2016, Charles fell ill and canceled a tour of Canada. He was diagnosed with stomach cancer in October. Despite his illness, Charles soldiered on when he could, including a stellar performance at the WXPN Exponential Music Festival in July 2017.

Charles succumbed to cancer in late September 2017. He was 68.

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inktober 2017: week 1

inktober 2017: week 1

Well, whadaya know! It’s Inktober again. While other online artists are attempting the “one drawing per day” challenge, I, in my infinite and self-proclaimed laziness, will be doing one drawing per week. After all, I still participate in Illustration Friday (non-stop since 2007, I might add) and I do my weekly Dead Celebrity Spotlight, posted every Friday. So, you’ll just have to be satisfied with a weekly (or “weakly”) offering.

Keeping with the October/Hallowe’en theme, here is my entry for Week Number 1. It’s the “Queen of Horror” Barbara Steele from her 1960 film Black Sunday directed by Mario Bava, Italian master of the giallo genre.

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DCS: del bissonette

The Dodgers have Del Bissonette; No meal has he ever missed yet; The question that rises Is one that surprises: Who paid for all Del Bissonette?

In 1927, as a minor leaguer, Del Bissonette led the International League in five categories — runs, hits, doubles, triples, home runs, and RBIs. The next season, Del signed with the Brooklyn Robins (a team that would eventually become the Brooklyn Dodgers) as a first baseman. He achieved a .320 batting average and became only the third Major Leaguer to be intentionally walked with the bases loaded. In a game on April 21, 1930, Del became the first player in Major League history to hit a bases-loaded triple and a bases-loaded home run in the same game.

Del missed the entire 1932 season with a tendon injury. In 1933, he was relegated to the minors due to lack of production.

He moved on to coaching and, eventually, managing. Though he worked mostly with farm teams, he served as the manager of the Boston Braves before moving to the Pittsburgh Pirates as a coach in 1946.

In 1947, Del retired to Augusta, Maine. He committed suicide in June of that year. He was 72.

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