El Bicho's Hive

A Collection of Reviews Covering the Worlds of Art and Entertainment alongside other Snobbish Ramblings.

Monday, March 07, 2005

Solomon Burke
Shout Factory

2001 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Solomon Burke, known as the king of rock ‘n’ soul, follows up his Grammy-winning Don’t Give Up On Me with a new collection of songs; some of which were penned by fellow inductees: Bob Dylan, Robbie Robertson, Van Morrison, Hank Williams. Those with a more active role in the creation of this album include Dr. John, who wrote the title song, and The Rolling Stones, who selected "I Got the Blues" from their 1971 album Sticky Fingers for Burke to record.

Producer Don Was accentuates Burke with a talented collection of musicians and back-up singers. Each member’s skills will garner interest in their own projects. The standouts are Ray Parker Jr. on guitar and Rudy Copeland on organ.

Most of the songs deal with love. The longing for love in the rockin’ “I Need Your Love In My Life” and the gospel-tinged, yearning to the heavens in “Let Somebody Love Me.” The pain of losing love in “It Makes No Difference” and “I Got The Blues.” There’s no better example of the pleasure of being in love than “After All These Years,” which was co-written by Burke. It is a touching song about a couple still in love after the children have all grown up and left the house.

Burke has an amazing singing voice; it is noteworthy for both its beauty and power. With it, he captures the essence of these songs by flawlessly expressing the emotions involved. Even though he only co-wrote one song, he taps into the songs’ stories through parallels in his own life. He gives of himself to share vulnerabilities that reside within all of us, defining soul music as he creates it.

In this instance, you shouldn’t follow the wise advice of the title track. You really need this album in your collection before you can Make Do With What You Got.