Category: Solomon Burke

Solomon Burke – Blue & Soulful

ARTIST: Solomon Burke 

TITLE: Blue & Soulful

YEAR RELEASED: Compilation


SINGLES: Top 10: Just Out of Reach (Of My Two Open Arms) (#24, #7 R&B), Cry to Me (#44, #5 R&B), If You Need Me (#37, #2 R&B), You’re Good to Me (#49, #3 R&B), Goodbye Baby (Baby Goodbye) (#33, #8 R&B), Everybody Needs Somebody to Love (#58, #4 R&B), The Price (#57, #10 R&B), Got to Get You Off My Mind (#22, #1 R&B), Tonight’s the Night (#28, #2 R&B),

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: He covered songs like “He’ll Have to Go”, “By the Time I Get to Phoenix”, and “Maggie’s Farm” (!!!)

LINEUP: Solomon Burke and session musicians.

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: The singer that bridged between 50’s and 60’s R&B. Burke was crowned “The King of Rock & Soul” in 1963.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Solomon Burke was larger than life. He was a large man, a reverend, an entrepreneur, and a consummate showman. While he didn’t chart as high as his other Atlantic Records, his influence was felt through the company and the R&B community.

Burke had a touch of country in many of his songs, and specialized in pleading songs (torch songs, breakup songs, etc.), many with spoken introductions. He could definitely could rip up the joint, and be tender and sweet, depending on the song.

Burke was less of a priority of Atlantic as time went on. He didn’t always get the best material or the best production compared to the other stars of the label (except for the songs he wrote it seems). He left the label and drifted around a bit – but was always hustling and performing.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: He had to hustle. He had at least 21 kids. He owned an early Mountain Dew distribution outlet, funeral homes, and other businesses. He also was an honest-to-goodness man of the cloth.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: This is about everything you need,

 GRADE A-: It’s an important collection, though a few tracks are superfluous.

Solomon Burke – Solomon Burke’s Greatest Hits

ARTIST: Solomon Burke BurkeHits
TITLE: Solomon Burke’s Greatest Hits
SINGLES: Just of Reach (Of My Two Open Arms) (#24, #7 R&B), Cry to Me (#44, #5 R&B), I’m Hanging Up My Heart for You (#85, #15 R&B), Down in the Valley (#71, #20 R&B)
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Solomon Burke fans, yes. Others, no.
LINEUP: Solomon Burke and the Atlantic Records studio musicians.
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Atlantic releases a collection of recent singles and other masters that finally document the work of a great R&B / Soul singer.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: I was reluctant to include this so early. Technically, it’s a compilation, and technically it’s hits + other cuts that Atlantic had around. But I included it here since it was released the same year as most of the singles were released.

After an up-and-down start to his career Burke finds the record company that would help him become a big name in the R&B / Soul circuit. He finds the right vocal sound and grit to match each song, and can sing gritty soul and soul-country with ease. The only down part is some of the material is second rate – certainly not Burke. (The backing vocals are kind of white bread at times, too.) Again, though, this was filled out with unreleased masters cut during the same time frame as all of the singles.

This is a great place to explore early 60’s soul, and see how this sound evolved into the soul of the mid-60’s. Burke was among the leaders moving the genre towards what many consider its peak time.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: Soon after this, Burke was crowned “The King of Rock & Soul” in an on-stage ceremony..


GRADE: B+: A great slice of history and some great soul singing by someone who should be more well known today.

Solomon Burke – Solomon Burke

ARTIST: Solomon Burke burke
TITLE: Solomon Burke
SINGLES: Most were singles – none charted
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: This is really early stuff, so unless you just love early soul, no.
LINEUP: Solomon Burke and the anonymous session people.
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Burke’s old record company releases his old sides in an album form after his first couple of Atlantic hits.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Burke’s first few albums are technically ‘compilations’, since Apollo and then Atlantic were concentrating on the R&B and soul singles market (logically). Apollo pressed up 12 of his best songs and threw this out there in the marketplace to beat Atlantic (his current company) to the punch.

Burke shines through the material and backing. Unfortunate sax solos, white bread backing vocals and generic arrangements plague the material. Also, it sounds like the stream is from a vinyl copy – which is fine but it’s got limitations too.

Early in his career, it was known Burke had talent. It took Atlantic to first harness it.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: He released songs on four or five record companies before striking it at Atlantic. He came and left Apollo twice in three years.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: Every master recording (16 songs) he recorded for Apollo is available..

GRADE: C: This grade is for the material and arrangements. Not for Burke himself. I’m not an early R&B completist so this is out.