The Screaming Eagle of Soul, Charles Bradley, released a fantastic version of Black Sabbath's "Changes" as a single for Record Store Day Black Friday. Now, the song has been posted on the Daptone Records SoundCloud account for those of us not lucky enough to score the vinyl. The recording above is taken from the vinyl disc and you can hear a little of the needle crackling and popping over the surface of the record throughut the track, although for the most part it sounds pretty clean. That sound is something that may subconsciously add to the retro R&B appeal to the song for us audiophiles.
When Black Sabbath released "Changes" on Black Sabbath Vol. 4 in 1972, it was a big departure from their previous work. The soft ballad based around a piano was nothing like anything on their first three albums. The Charles Bradley version here is a stunning old school R&B take on the tune, featuring The Budos Band. The band lays down a nearly perfect backing track, led by a slinky guitar and accentuated by drums, bass, organ, and horns. There is a deep groove between all the instruments, but the band leaves lots of room for Bradley's voice. And that voice is spot on. You can feel the pain of the lyrics as Bradley digs in, but there's also a tenderness that's inviting the listener in. It was an artform perfected by James Brown and Otis Redding, and it's great that singers like Charles Bradley are keeping it alive today.
Be sure to check out Charles Bradley's excellent 2013 album Victim of Love.
Source: Daptone Records SoundCloud