Twin Cities R&B musician Carl Bradley dies at 73

Carl Bradley has performed in venues across the country with stars such as Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin. He made Twin Cities history with a top R&B act in the 1960s and was a member of four bands inducted into the Mid-America Music Hall of Fame.

But he maintained that his 13 children were his greatest achievement.

Bradley died on April 1 of heart failure at his home in Brooklyn Center. He was 73 years old.

“I remember being impressed,” her daughter Andrea York, of the Brooklyn Center, said of seeing her father on stage.

Jesse Bradley, also of Brooklyn Center and Bradley’s youngest child, said his father enjoyed listening to Billie Holiday and Ella Fitzgerald because he liked jazz and could sing soprano.

“The girls went crazy over his high pitched voice. It’s one of the reasons he got big here,” Jesse Bradley said.

A 2012 release from Minneapolis-based label Secret Stash Records, “Twin Cities Funk & Soul: Lost R&B Grooves From Minneapolis/St. Paul 1964-1979”, featured Carl Bradley and two bands he joined, including Dave Brady and the Stars. He said the Stars were “one of the first Twin Cities R&B groups to find crossover success with white audiences”.

“White people in Minnesota would see the Temptations on TV or buy their records, but they would never see R&B in town until Dave Brady and the Stars,” Bradley told the publication.

The Stars formed in 1965 in south Minneapolis. Bradley played keyboard, sax and organ before moving on to vocals. In 1969 he joined Danny’s Reasons with frontman Danny Stevens, which established The Depot concert venue – later known as First Avenue.

Stephen Landry, a longtime friend of Bradley’s who handled equipment and sound on tours in the Upper Midwest, said some people they met didn’t appreciate black musicians coming to town and attract local girls to their shows.

“There was a place, a pizza place, we had to fight to get out of it because some guys came in and created trouble,” Landry said.

“Carl was one of the nicest people I know,” he said. “He had time for anyone. He never made you feel worse than when he was talking to you.

Bradley was born in Lufkin, Texas and first saw snow when he was adopted by parents and moved to Minneapolis when he was 6 years old. After attending Central High School in Minneapolis, he turned down offers of college scholarships and instead launched his music career. with the stars.

His son Galen Kruger, from Rochester, said most of Bradley’s children inherited a love of music from their father, who he called “a real rock star“.

Bradley met his life partner, Debbie Fox, while performing with Free and Easy at Kelly’s Depot Pub in downtown St. Paul in 1979. When she saw Bradley, she said, she knew he was “the man I want to marry one day”.

“I went out every night just to see him play,” she said. “He was one of a kind. He made people feel very special.”

Bradley worked as a bailiff for 25 years for Civil Action Group. Family members said he was a man of faith who listened to Reverend Charles Stanley every morning and enjoyed his four pets, fishing and golf.

Besides Fox, York, Jesse Bradley and Kruger, Bradley is survived by his daughters Patrice Doten, St. Paul; Nicole LaNasa, Wesley Chapel, Florida; and Terra Dodds, wild; son Daryl LaBat, Omaha; Joseph Huber, Minneapolis; Carl Bradley Jr., Columbia Heights; Scott Wesolowski, Denver; Jason Spangler, Maple Grove; Hunter Boyce, West St Paul; and Anthony Longen, San Jose; several grandchildren and a great-grandchild. Services took place.

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