Flashback Friday: Charles Bradley & Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings

Here at HIP Video Promo, we’ve been working hard to promote music videos since the year 2000. It’s important to us to help younger and independent artists get the recognition they deserve, and it’s exciting to be on the ground floor with artists that become household names (and with over 3200 videos under our belts in 19 years, there are quite a few). Every Friday, we’ll be sharing a “Flashback Friday” video, where we get to reflect on one of our favorite videos from many years ago.

Nicknamed the “Screaming Eagle of Soul”, Charles Bradley was first drawn to music after seeing James Brown perform at the Apollo Theater in 1962.  After spending twenty years working odd jobs and moving all over the country, in 1996 he began performing as a James Brown impersonator, called “Black Velvet.” Gabriel Roth of Daptone Records discovered him as Black Velvet, and in 2011, Charles Bradley released his debut album, No Time for Dreaming. That February, we promoted the video for “The World (Is Going Up In Flames)”, which shows him singing to, and around, the lovely Brooklyn. Whether on a rooftop or subway stop, it’s clear that he was born to be singing.

Right as No Time for Dreaming was released, Charles Bradley was on the road supporting Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings; he’d continue to tour the US as well as Europe. He would go on to release two more albums, Victim Of Love in 2013 and Changes in 2016. Unfortunately, Charles Bradley passed away in 2017 from stomach cancer. However, his legacy lives on, as his music is regularly used in TV shows, like Suits and Ray Donovan, and many modern hip-hop artists have sampled his music.

From singing gospel in church to entering local talent shows, Sharon Jones soon went on to session work. In 1996, she had a big break as a backing singer for Lee Fields. That session was organized by Gabriel Roth, who went on to start Daptone Records. The first Daptone Records release was a full-length album from Sharon Jones. In 2002, she and her new band The Dap-Kings – who had formed as members of the Soul Providers and the Mighty Imperials got together – released their album, Dap Dippin’  with Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings, which was quickly celebrated. They released several more albums and in 2010 we had the absolute pleasure of promoting their video for “I Learned The Hard Way”, a song from the album of the same name. Here, Sharon reminisces about the good times in a relationship, only now realizing how blind she’s been to her man two-timing her.

A few years later, in 2014, we promoted Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings video for “Stranger To My Happiness”, from their album Give The People What They Want. Directed by Rob Hatch-Miller and Paloma Basu of Production Company Productions, this time, the band are a wedding band, having fun after the guests have gone home. As she’d undergone chemotherapy treatments for pancreatic cancer, Miss Jones chose to not wear a wig for the video – something she said was “an easy decision… I’ve always been me, and that’s not going to change now.”

Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings would release It’s A Holiday Soul Party in 2015, as well as a documentary, Miss Sharon Jones!, about her battle with cancer while she continued to perform, in 2016. Unfortunately, following two strokes, she passed away in November 2016. And like Charles Bradley, her legacy lives on: in 2017 the band released their final album, Soul of a Woman, featuring the last recordings she’d made.

Daptone Records has continued to put out several stellar records a year. Up next will be Fu Chronicles, the new album from 12-piece ensemble Antibalas. But if you’re looking for some jams in the meantime, check out their Holiday Soul Party Playlist.