Geek insider, geekinsider, geekinsider. Com,, bandbox unboxed vol. 30 - charles bradley, reviews

Bandbox Unboxed Vol. 30 – Charles Bradley

Prepare your turntable for heavy rotation spinners vinyl fans, ’cause Bandbox is out to bring the record store to your own front door.

Groove is in the Bandbox

That’s right music fans, Team Bandbox is offering a truly tailor made vinyl club experience every month by letting you fill your box with artists and albums that fit your own personal tastes. As their slogan goes, it’s pretty much like having the record store delivered to your front door every month. And Bandbox is currently boasting a record store style variety of artists with a treasure trove of exclusive pressings you really do not want to sleep on.

Having it your way really is the Bandbox mantra. Offering subscribers the choice of a single album from an artist you adore, and a fresh edition of Bandbox’s artist-specific fan zine showing up every single month, the B-Box service has effectively made it possible to do a little bin-diving from the comfort your very own home. And you can now dig their vinyl+zine treasures for a beyond reasonable $29 a month. 

Did I mention Bandbox even offers FREE SHIPPING for members? They do. And it’s the icing on the record club cake. So what came tucked inside this month’s Bandbox? Nothing short of a neo-soul stunner from the late-great Charles Bradley.

Bandbox
Geek insider, geekinsider, geekinsider. Com,, bandbox unboxed vol. 30 - charles bradley, reviews
Geek insider, geekinsider, geekinsider. Com,, bandbox unboxed vol. 30 - charles bradley, reviews
Geek insider, geekinsider, geekinsider. Com,, bandbox unboxed vol. 30 - charles bradley, reviews

Before we continue, you should know up front Bandbox’s format is designed to ease the nerves of folks wary of the record club scene. And yes, you can still choose to be surprised every month if surprises happen to be your bag. If you’re not feeling any of the album’s Bandbox is offering, you can also pump the brakes at any time by simply pausing your sub. It’s unlikely you’ll want to pause anything once you’ve signed up and experienced BandBox for yourself. Just know that your Bandbox experience will be every bit as amazing as you make it.

Let the Great World Spin

Charles Bradley’s late-career output was both fierce, and limited. Thankfully, Team Bandbox chose the best of the bunch, pressed it on a killer exclusive color-way, and boxed it up with fan-zine that gives new meaning to the term “deep dive.” Here’s a quick look.

Geek insider, geekinsider, geekinsider. Com,, bandbox unboxed vol. 30 - charles bradley, reviews
Geek insider, geekinsider, geekinsider. Com,, bandbox unboxed vol. 30 - charles bradley, reviews
Geek insider, geekinsider, geekinsider. Com,, bandbox unboxed vol. 30 - charles bradley, reviews

The cover art on the back of that sleeve is apparently a Charles Bradley original. Which is kinda cool.

Geek insider, geekinsider, geekinsider. Com,, bandbox unboxed vol. 30 - charles bradley, reviews

Before we get too far, you should know Bandbox has a major deal going on for new subscribers, and all the info you’ll need to take advantage of it is right here on this card.

Geek insider, geekinsider, geekinsider. Com,, bandbox unboxed vol. 30 - charles bradley, reviews

There’s also a download card inside the sleeve for those who enjoy digital copies of their vinyl treasures.

And there’s full album credits on the inner sleeve for folks who wanna know who did what on an album.

Geek insider, geekinsider, geekinsider. Com,, bandbox unboxed vol. 30 - charles bradley, reviews

Charles Bradley – Changes (2016)

In the music business, every star has a story. Few of them are quite as fascinating as that of Charles Bradley. As that story goes, the retro soul master was raised in utter poverty, splitting time between Gainesville, FL and Brooklyn, NY. At age 14, Bradley became a runaway, living on the streets until a Job Corps gig led him to train as a chef in Bar Harbor, Maine, where he stayed and worked in anonymity for more than a decade.

Prior to his exodus from Brooklyn, Bradley did, however, have the chance to see soul icon James Brown perform at the legendary Apollo theater. The experience would eventually become life-changer as it first inspired young Bradley to learn how to move and sing like the Godfather of Soul. Decades later, an adult Charles Bradley actually found himself not-so ironically making a living as a James Brown impersonator. And that is indeed how he was discovered by Daptone Records co-founder Gabriel Roth, who promptly signed Bradley to the fledgeling label.

That fateful encounter came in the early 2000s, with Bradley releasing his first Daptone single in 2002. Nearly a decade later, he released the first album of his career, 2011’s acclaimed No Time For Dreaming. He was 61-years old at the time. The brilliant Victim of Love followed in 2013, and was met with equal adoration. So too was 2016’s Changes. Charles Bradley was 66 when Changes hit record shelves. It was the last album he released prior to his 2018 death. Many believe it to be not only his finest work, but one of the best modern soul albums released in the 21st Century.

Of course, there’s nothing particularly modern about Changes. In fact, the album sounds and feels like one of those funk-forward Memphis soul gems the likes of which Stax Records and Hi Records were cranking out on the regular circa the late-60s and 70s. And yes, that sound proves a perfect pairing for Bradley’s gravely, James Brown-esque vocals. So much so that one has to wonder just how the man didn’t become a superstar during the heyday of the funk/soul scene.

Better late than never, I suppose. And thankfully, given his late-in-life output, fans of the genre will surely be getting down to the funky sounds of Charles Bradley for generations to come. For the record, if you’re looking for a gateway into either the work of the man himself, or the funk/soul genre in general, you could do a lot worse than Changes, which has never sounded as good on vinyl as with this Bandbox exclusive. Just FYI – it’s never looked this good either. Have a gander for yourself.

Geek insider, geekinsider, geekinsider. Com,, bandbox unboxed vol. 30 - charles bradley, reviews

While you marvel at that amber/smoke beauty, please remember there’s an equally lovely, Charles Bradley-centric zine in the box with it. And it features a full, track-by-track breakdown of Changes to boot. Here’s a look.

Geek insider, geekinsider, geekinsider. Com,, bandbox unboxed vol. 30 - charles bradley, reviews
Geek insider, geekinsider, geekinsider. Com,, bandbox unboxed vol. 30 - charles bradley, reviews
Geek insider, geekinsider, geekinsider. Com,, bandbox unboxed vol. 30 - charles bradley, reviews
Geek insider, geekinsider, geekinsider. Com,, bandbox unboxed vol. 30 - charles bradley, reviews
Geek insider, geekinsider, geekinsider. Com,, bandbox unboxed vol. 30 - charles bradley, reviews
Geek insider, geekinsider, geekinsider. Com,, bandbox unboxed vol. 30 - charles bradley, reviews

Lovely as it is, that zine won’t dress up your deck half as well as the vinyl does.

Geek insider, geekinsider, geekinsider. Com,, bandbox unboxed vol. 30 - charles bradley, reviews

It’s the Bandbox You Want and the Bandbox You Need

The vinyl boom is here to stay, friends. And if you’re one of the many who’ve found themselves fervently swept up in the madness, you’re already aware there’s a million and one ways to get your hands on some sweet, sweet wax. While I’d always encourage you to shop first at your local record store, subscription vinyl clubs really are an excellent way to help fill in/round out your growing collection.

The great thing about Bandbox is that they ultimately leave the decision-making up to you. So if you’re looking to snag a copy of your fave band’s most popular album on snazzy colored wax, you can do that. Ditto for some of those overlooked albums chock full of tasty deep cuts. And rest assured, they’ve still got a few copies of Changes on deck if you’re dying to get your hands on one. Happy spinning, gang!

A thousand THANK Yous to the folks at Bandbox for sponsoring this subscription. If you like what you’ve seen here, you can head over to the Bandbox website and sign up to have a sexy new Bandbox delivered to your own front door every single month. While you’re there, feel free to check out their podcast and merch section too! And be sure to check back soon to see what goodies we find in our next Bandbox!

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