When there’s talk of heavyweight artists little come so close to achieving this hallowed accolade than the dynamite soul singer Solomon Burke. His Atlantic material is a part of the very best soul back catalogue you can get your hands on and this is why Soul Music Records, a subsidiary of Cherry Red Records has decided to tie down a 3 CD box set of his material for release. Starting with his earliest recordings going through to more established numbers, this is a critical release for anyone interested in one of the soul kings of the studio and stage.
This Little Ring starts off on an almost shoowap shuffling style, but with plenty of female harmonies and the beautiful Burke vocals firmly to the fore, this foray into the recording studio was a firm stamp what we were to expect from Burke. Be Bop Grandma is a blues explosion, something that probably leaned slightly on Route 66. I’m Hanging Up My Heart For You has a delicate winkling of the ivories whilst Gotta Travel On would do well to travel fairground play makers on the carousel with its jiving organ. Whilst further in disc one the Burke cracked voice can be firmly heard on the likes of I Said I Was Sorry, If you Need Me and Stupidity.
Wont You Give Him has a firm church gospel choir singing a encouragement to Burke, a simple concoction that works supremely here. Everybody Needs Somebody To Love is the well-known Blues Brothers hit that has defined Burkes career somewhat, which is kind of unfair when you listen to the bulk of the material contained here. Yes this mega hit is a soul classic, however there are equally many tracks here that also fit the same category, but I suppose when such a track is featured in a film blockbuster you have little choice. Got To Get You Off My Mind, Maggie’s Farm and I Cant Stop Loving You are the substance to my argument.
The final curtain in the set features When She Touches Me which has an almost confession stance, however Burkes vocals and the stand out rhythm section delves the listener into a horns and smooth backing vocals super soul. Keep Looking is the oft covered soul / mod dance floor epic, whilst Detroit City has a similar guitar riff to Aretha’s Change, Change, Change. Save It is another up tempo soul explosion, whilst closing number Since I Met You Baby closes as the set opened with more shuffling soul romance in the offering. A mighty fine set of one of the all time great’s of soul, The King Of Rock ‘n’ Soul, yeah I’d agree with that.
The Atlantic Recordings 1962-1968 can be purchased via the Cherry Red records site