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Robert Bradley Ready to Drop Blackwater Surprise -- in Name, at Least

Of the Oakland Press

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This weekend’s Jazzin’ on Jefferson festival will be a chance to say goodbye to Robert Bradley’s Blackwater Surprise — but not to the musician or his band.

“I’m gonna be known solo from now on, just (under) my name,” says Bradley, 56, the nearly blind onetime Detroit street musician who became a major-label recording artist in 1996. “There’s no original (members) in there anymore, besides me, so it’s just time to let it go. I’ll come up with a name for the band that plays behind me, but I don’t have one yet.”

Regardless of the name, the Alabama-born Bradley — who released the live album “What About That: New Year’s Eve in Bloomington,” earlier this year — is working on his fifth studio album, which he plans to have out next year. He says the new music will “focus on late-’60s, early-’70s type of R&B and blues with a rock edge” and promises it also will be “a little political,” like “Governor” from Blackwater Surprise’s 1996 debut.

And Bradley’s been up to more than just making music. Taking advantage of a state business enterprise program, he’s been attending classes at Delta College in Saginaw, where he now lives with his wife and two young children; a third is due this month). He’s working with computers for the first time, and Bradley is confi - dent that garnering these skills will help him be around for a long time to come.

“I wanted to upgrade my skills for the business end of the music business,” he explains. “One thing I learned about doing this is you better know that business stuff; if you don’t know it, man, people can take you for a ride.”

Robert Bradley’s Blackwater Surprise performs at 8:30 p.m. Saturday (June 24th) on the Main Stage at the Jazzin’ on Jefferson festival, Jefferson at Chalmers in Detroit. The festival runs 4-10:30 p.m. Friday (June 23rd) and 1-10:30 p.m. Saturday. Other pe

Web Site: www. jazzinonjefferson.com.

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