I’m not much of a modern blues guy; in fact a lot of my pals like to refer to me as a crusty-old, close-minded, purist curmudgeon. ‘Tis true, I’d much rather listen to old Chuck Berry blues instrumentals, ancient John Lee Hooker, Muddy Waters,Á‚ early ’70s blues-funk throwdowns from Albert and B.B. King, or even early- 50s R&B than polished, slick Robert Cray or horned-up 2008 urban blues. Because to me, nothing says “hard luck and trouble” like a perfectly digitally sparkling pristine recording by some white dude who grew up in suburbia. Not.
That being said, I am a sucker for a fine soul crooner, no matter the vintage, race, creed, or city of birth.
One such singer who fits this bill perfectly is Robert Bradley, whose fine fine recordings of the last decade or so make me shiver with admiration. For the record, he is blind, was raised in Alabama by a single mother, and was a street performer before he was discovered in the mid ’90s by a group of guys who couldn’t believe their ears.
Also, for the record, they were cranking out bluesy soul records before Amy Winehouse and her ilk brought soul back into vogue (and I thank her for doing so). Bradley was making the rounds with his retro sound when Kid Rock heard him, and sampled him on “I Got One For Ya” in 1997.
Here he is singing Isaac Hayes’ “I Thank You,” a song probably most well-known in its ZZ Top incarnation. Enjoy, and if you dig him, there are a good half-dozen albums out there for the snatching–all recorded with his band, Robert Bradley’s Blackwater Surprise.