Songs You Should Know: Charles Bradley – “Good To Be Back Home”

Charles Bradley’s life is an essential American story.

He grew up a poor black fatherless kid in Brooklyn. As an adult, he tragically endured his brother’s murder and watched his mother slowly die in the small apartment they shared. In the last five years though, Bradley’s life took a turn: he became famous. At 62, he released his first album “No Time For Dreaming.” For years, Bradley performed as a James Brown impersonator until he was discovered by an executive at Daptone Records, the same record company of fellow soul and funk artist Sharon Jones, and her band the Dap-Kings.

After two albums and successful international tours, Bradley recently released his third album, “Changes.” The apt title and the album’s songs reflect what his life has been like for the past five years. Unlike his earlier work, this new batch of songs is not focused on hard times and unbearable losses. They are filled with hope and proselytize love as the only emotion one needs for a tolerable life.

“Good to Be Back Home” encapsulates Bradley’s American story. The song begins with Bradley yelping — as James Brown — before singing, “Good to be back at home.” At 65 and after a lifetime of oppression, Bradley has finally seen the world. Despite the horrific memories he must harbor, Bradley still sings to the continuing power of the American dream. “The land where I was born, sometimes it hurts so bad. Sometimes so good,” he sings.

Learn more at thecharlesbradley.com.