Solomon Burke, also known as the king of Rock’ n’ Soul, was a phenomenal singer full of energy, one of the pioneers of Soul music and also an overlooked musical talent. For most people the name won’t ring any bells, but I’m sure a lot of you know him even though you don’t realize. Some people might know him through The Rolling Stones, who covered his ‘Everybody Needs Somebody To Love’, or maybe through the movie Blues Brothers which also contains this song, others will know him through the Dirty Dancing soundtrack and ‘Cry To me’ and some might have seen him on Rolling Stone list of Top 100 singers of all time. But whether you know him or not, he’ll always be one of the greatest Soul singers of all time.
I’m a big fan of his music and his rich singing. I think it embodies exactly the things I love about Soul music. I love how he can sing either gently and slowly or enthusiastically and with so much force it could satisfy any kind of audience. But either way, his singing is always powerful and full of emotion and intricacies. I’ve been listening to his music for many years now, and at the end of 2009, I saw that he was doing a tour around Europe. I was looking at the tickets for the shows near Slovenia, but ultimately, I said to myself “ah, I can’t do it this time, I’m sure he’ll be back again and I’ll go then”. Well, in 2010 he passed away and to this day not seeing him live is still one of the greatest regrets I’ve ever had. Today I enjoy his music more than ever, but the way I decided not to see him there and then is on my mind whenever I listen to him.
You can easily find his big songs from the 60’s on one of different Best of compilations (which is definitely worth having) but if there’s one album I would recommend to anyone, it has to be Don’t Give Up on Me. I feel like even people who don’t enjoy this kind of music will like it. I absolutely love this album and it’s one of my favourite albums ever. I like how it’s so fresh every time I listen to it. For example, I listened to it two days ago (after listening to it many times before, of course) and hearing it today, it feels like I’ve heard it for the first time again. It was recorded in 2002 and it was a great comeback for Solomon and also a great comeback for old style Soul music. He proved that he hasn’t lost any of the energy he had in his prime era. Some great songwriters wrote all of the songs for this album, specifically for Solomon. All of them are great fans of his and some of these songwriters are Bob Dylan, Nick Lowe, Brian Wilson (from the Beach Boys), Van Morrison, Tom Waits and Elvis Costello. Listen to this great song to either get a feeling of the album or to just hear an amazing song and an amazing vocalist.
Do you like it? What do you think? As always, I would love to hear your thoughts on the matter.