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Charles Bradley Reunites With Old Band on Scorching ‘Ain’t It a Sin’

Charles Bradley, "Ain't It a Sin," the Bullets, Record Store Day "Back to Black Friday," Budos Band, Black Sabbath

If Charles Bradley’s latest track is wrong, then let’s pour the Repeal Day rye already and blast the thing on repeat with the windows down, ’cause if there’s a Hell below, we’re all gonna go. Whether his tortured romantic ode “Victim of Love” or the resonant workingman’s lament “Why Is It So Hard,” some of the Daptone soul-belter’s best songs convey a poised seriousness of purpose. “Ain’t It a Sin,” from Bradley’s Record Store Day “Back to Black Friday” 2013 double A-side single, cuts loose with the wicked abandon its title implies. Turns out sin is cathartic.

The Screaming Eagle of Soul roars with hair-raising ferocity here over the soul-funk backing of the Bullets, the band that previously joined him on mid-’00s Daptone singles “This Love Ain’t Big Enough for the Two of Us” and “Now That I’m Gone.” Joining the insistent horns and chicken-scratch guitars are handclaps and live-like backing shouts, which add to the sense of a rowdy speakeasy that’s just turned legit. “I try to be a righteous man,” Bradley insists, “but I’m tired of being used.” Breaking bad can feel pretty good. Just wait until they share the Black Sabbath cover on the single’s flip side.

Charles Bradley tour dates:

December 4 – Madison, WI @ High Noon Saloon
December 5 – Minneapolis, MN @ First Avenue
December 6 – Chicago, IL @ Metro
December 7 – Bloomington, IN @ The Bluebird
December 8 – Grand Rapids, MI @ Pyramid Scheme
December 11 – Kitchener, ON, Canada @ Centre in the Square
December 12 – Toronto, ON, Canada @ Kool Haus
December 13 – Ottawa, ON, Canada @ Ritual
December 14 – S. Burlington, VT @ Higher Ground
January 16 – Washington, DC @ 9:30 Club
January 17 – New York, NY @ Bowery Ballroom
January 18 – Brooklyn, NY @ Music Hall of Williamsburg
January 24 – Woodstock, NY @ Bearsville Theater
January 25 – Uncasville, CT @ The Wolf Den (Free Show)
February 5 – Northampton, MA @ Pearl Street
February 6 – Providence, RI @ The Columbus Theatre
February 7 – Boston, MA @ House of Blues (with Galactic)
February 8 – Philadelphia, PA @ Electric Factory (with Galactic)