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with Jesus

By David Werther.

Charles Bradley, Victim of Love (Dunham Records, 2013)

           In the words of Indiana Jones, “It’s not the years; it’s the mileage.” Charles Bradley’s trek has been long and hard. He never knew his father and — raised by his grandmother — didn’t meet his mother until he was eight. By age fourteen, he was living on the streets. It’s not for nothing that his soulful R & B singing is punctuated with moans and groans.

           In Victim of Love, Bradley journeys from a celebration of a romantic relationship (“Strictly Reserved For You” and “You Put A Flame On It”) to breakup (“Victim of Love” and “Love Bug Blues”) and breakdown (“Confusion”). After that there is more heartache (“Crying in the Chapel”), followed by apocalyptic cataclysm in “Hurricane.” On the last cut, there is escape (“Through the Storm”) and gratitude. Victim of Love is not an easy journey, but neither is Bradley’s life.

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