Solomon Burke – Nothing’s Impossible (CD review)


Solomon Burke – Nothing’s Impossible (E1 Entertainment) – CD review

This record finds Solomon Burke teamed with legendary Memphis producer Willie Mitchell, whose signature staccato horns, loud kick drum, and sweet strings adorned the great Al Green singles of the early 70’s.  Flash forward forty years, and everything is still intact.  No attempt has been made to update the sound; this is classic soul, through and through

They just don’t make albums like this anymore.  Real drums, real instruments, and Burke still growling away, like he has for the last 50 years.  But, there’s something here, not present in his previous releases: an underlying hint of regret in his voice.  Whether Burke is feeling his mortality or had somehow foreseen the tragedy that would fall his producer (Mitchell passed away just ten days after completing these sessions of cardiac arrest), the truth is, it’s there.  It’s also what elevates these tracks to another level.  Take for example the odd cover of Anne Murray’s “You Needed Me.”  Her original is schmaltzy and vanilla, while Burke imparts so much emotion, cutting to the true essence of the song.

One of the best songs is “Dreams” where Burke sings “don’t wake me from this dream / or I’ll scream scream scream”.  These are lyrics that will send chills down your spine.  Even Burke’s daughter, Candy, wrote one of the better ones, “The Error of My Ways.” Burke won a Grammy for Best Contemporary Blues Album for 2002’s Don’t Give Up On Me, With this new disc, Burke should find himself once again accepting award for a great collection of songs. — Tony Peters

Hear the Icon Fetch interview with Solomon Burke

Talking to the King

Man, what a trip!  I interviewed Solomon Burke the other day.  Before the actual interview began, I told him that I was calling from Dayton.  Here’s what he said:

Solomon:  “Dayton?  I love Dayton.  You know when I was younger, I used to want to go to Dayton, cause that’s where I thought I would get a DATE!”

I also told him about a treat from right here in southern Ohio…Esther Price Chocolate Covered Potato Chips.  I told him I’d send him a box.

Solomon: “Man, I know this is gonna be a great interview.”

Icon Fetch: “Why”?

Solomon: “Because, we haven’t even started and we’ve talked about my two favorite things…women and food!”

#3 – George Klein – Elvis: My Best Man

George Klein

George Klein is author of a new book “Elvis: My Best Man.” Klein met Presley when they were both in high school and were close friends right up until Elvis’ untimely death. Presley actually stood at the altar in Klein’s wedding as his best man. Klein was part of Presley’s tight inner circle, known as the “Memphis Mafia.” He also hosts a weekly show on the Elvis channel on Sirius/XM.  He talks with Icon Fetch about some of his great experiences with the King of Rock n’ Roll.

For more on George Klein, visit the Elvis Channel page at www.sirius.com

Read the Icon Fetch review of the new George Klein book “Elvis – My Best Man”

#2 – Darlene Love – Fame the Musical

Darlene Love

Singer is unsung hero of rock

She’s one of the greatest singers in the history of music. Darlene Love has lent her voice to countless hit singles over the years, including “He’s a Rebel” by the Crystals, “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin'” by the Righteous Brothers, and her own holiday classic “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)”.She’s also had the opportunity to sing with many legends of music including Elvis,Sam Cooke, Aretha, Marvin Gaye, Cher, and even Cheech & Chong! Many others will remember her as Danny Glover’s wife in the Lethal Weapon movies. Darlene is currently gearing up for a run of “Fame the Musical” in Australia, where she stars as Miss Sherman, a no-nonsense teacher at the school for the arts. We’ll also discuss the new DVD release of “The T.A.M.I. Show”, which Darlene was a part of.

You can find out more about Darlene, by going to her official site, www.darleneloveworld.com

Singer Darlene Love has lent her voice to literally hundreds of recordings over the years.  We’ve assembled a list of some of her “Greatest Hits”

  • “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)” – Darlene Love – One of Darlene’s greatest moments.  A stone-cold holiday classic from Phil Spector’s A Christmas Gift to You.  You can close your eyes and feel the snow falling on you.
  • “He’s a Rebel” – credited to the Crystals, but it’s actually Darlene on lead vocals.  Her first #1 hit.
  • “Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah – Bob B. Soxx & the Blue Jeans – Darlene sings on this Disney classic turned inside-out.  Extra points for Billy Strange’s guitar solo that sounds like it’s coming from another planet.
  • “(Today I Met) The Boy I’m Gonna Marry” – Darlene Love – One of the few Spector tracks to actually sport Miss D’s name.  Darlene reaches back to her days in the gospel choir for a gutty performance.  Imagine her preaching to the congregation about her good news.
  • “The Shoop Shoop Song (It’s in His Kiss)” – Betty Everett – Darlene and the Blossoms do the question-asking, like “Is it in his eyes”?  sharing the lead vocalis with Betty.  The vocal ascending that they do when Betty sings “Kiss him / and squeeze him tight” will send shivers.
  • “Poor Side of Town” – Johnny Rivers – Darlene & the Blossoms show off their gentler side as they echo Johnny’s verses with sweet sophistication.
  • “The Right Time” – Bobby Darin – Darlene duets with Bobby on this under-appreciated cut from a lost Darin LP called Bobby Darin Sings Ray Charles
  • “Brown-Eyed Woman” – Bill Medley – The deep-voiced half of the Righteous Brothers testifies his love for Darlene, while she and her sisters turn up the heat.
  • “Basketball Jones – Cheech and Chong – Showing that she truly is one of the most versatile of vocalists, Darlene lends her talents to C&C’s parody of the Brighter Side of Darkness “Love Jones.”

Darlene Love – The Best of (CD review)

You may not know her name, but you certainly know her voice.

Darlene Love – the Best of – CD review – While it would be impossible to compile all of Darlene Love’s finest accomplishments on one collection, The Best of Darlene Love does a fairly good job of bringing together the highlights of her tenure with Phil Spector, her most fruitful commercially.  The CD opens with “He’s a Rebel,” credited to the Crystals, but is in fact Darlene on lead vocals.

The song rocketed to #1 in the fall of 1962 and helped solidify Phil Spector’s status as a “rock genius.”  Perhaps because of this notoriety, Spector became increasingly erratic in his dealings with his artists.  This explains the schizophrenic credits on this CD: Spector would promise Darlene that the next single would be in her name, only to release it as by the Crystals.  Next, she’d be credited as Bob B. Soxx & the Blue Jeans, for which they cut the odd Disney classic “Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah.”  Still other tracks were inexplicably left unreleased, as in Darlene’s original version of “Chapel of Love,” later a monster hit for the Dixie Cups. “A Fine Fine Boy” and “(Today I Met) the Boy I’m Gonna Marry” are both fine examples of her strong clear voice: it’s as if she’s back in the choir singing gospel.  The set closes with an added tidbit: “Lord If You’re a Woman,”  a failed attempt at a comeback for Spector and Love from 1977.

Tommy James – 40 years – Complete Singles Collection (CD review)

Disc one packs such a wallop, did one guy do all these songs?

Tommy James – 40 Years – The Complete Singles Collection (Collectors Choice) – CD review – This two-disc set marks the first time that Tommy James’ entire career has been summarized in one collection.  “40 Years: The Complete Singles Collection” opens with his very first hit, “Hanky Panky” from 1966 and ends with a string of Adult Contemporary hits from 40 years later.

Disc one focuses on Tommy’s hit-making years and the string of shining moments is an impressive one: “I Think We’re Alone Now,” “Mony Mony,” “Crimson & Clover,”  “Mirage,”  “Sweet Cherry Wine,”  and “Crystal Blue Persuasion” are all timeless classics.  One thing that sets this anthology a part from other collections is that, for the first time, the original, mono single versions were used.  These were the mixes that were played on AM radio at the time and the ones that the kids of the Sixties bought up on record.  Even though disc two chronicles Tommy’s decent into cult artist, the quality of the material remains surprisingly strong.  — Tony Peters

Hear the Icon Fetch interview with Tommy James

Interviewing Darlene Love

I talked with Darlene last night through the miracle of modern technology.  Over the Internet, we were able to chat – with me in Ohio and Darlene some thousands of miles away in Australia.  She’s preparing for the opening of Fame: The Musical in Melbourne.  The morning we talked, she was a little tired from a late-night practice.  Later that day were more practices, a dress rehearsal, and finally, the opening night of the show.  I felt honored that she took time to talk with us with such a busy schedule.

Although it was certainly nice to chat, trying to conduct an interview over the Internet can be dicey.  There were several instances where her voice was a little jumbled.  Keep that in mind when you listen to the show.  However, it’s a small price to pay to actually talk with such a special lady.

Darlene Love – “Greatest Vocal Performances”

Singer Darlene Love has lent her voice to literally hundreds (and possibly thousands) of recordings over the years.  We’ve assembled a list of some of her “Greatest Hits”:

“Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)” – Darlene Love – One of Darlene’s greatest moments.  A stone-cold holiday classic from Phil Spector’s A Christmas Gift to You.  You can close your eyes and feel the snow falling on you.

“He’s a Rebel” – credited to the Crystals, but it’s actually Darlene on lead vocals.  Her first #1 hit.

“Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah – Bob B. Soxx & the Blue JeansDarlene sings on this Disney classic turned inside-out.  Extra points for Billy Strange’s guitar solo that sounds like it’s coming from another planet.

“(Today I Met) The Boy I’m Gonna Marry” – Darlene Love – One of the few Spector tracks to actually sport Miss D’s name.  Darlene reaches back to her days in the gospel choir for a gutty performance.  Imagine her preaching to the congregation about her good news.

“The Shoop Shoop Song (It’s in His Kiss)” – Betty EverettDarlene and the Blossoms do the question-asking, like “Is it in his eyes”?  sharing the lead vocalis with Betty.  The vocal ascending that they do when Betty sings “Kiss him / and squeeze him tight” will send shivers.

“Poor Side of Town” – Johnny Rivers Darlene & the Blossoms show off their gentler side as they echo Johnny’s verses with sweet sophistication.

“The Right Time” – Bobby DarinDarlene duets with Bobby on this under-appreciated cut from a lost Darin LP called Bobby Darin Sings Ray Charles

“Brown-Eyed Woman” – Bill Medley – The deep-voiced half of the Righteous Brothers testifies his love for Darlene, while she and her sisters turn up the heat.

“Basketball Jones – Cheech and Chong – Showing that she truly is one of the most versatile of vocalists, Darlene lends her talents to C&C’s parody of the Brighter Side of Darkness “Love Jones.”

#1 – Tommy James – Me, the Mob & the Music

Legendary ICON Tommy James, the man behind such hits as “Mony Mony,” “Crimson & Clover,” and “Hanky Panky,” has just written a book entitled “Me, the Mob and the Music: One Helluva Ride With Tommy James & the Shondells.” The book chronicles his career from his humble beginnings in Niles, Michigan, to a regional sensation in Pittsburgh, to a worldwide star. Running parallel with this fame was James’ crazy, often times scary dealings with label exec Morris Levy, who didn’t just have mob connections, he was running dealings right out of his company office. Tommy James talks with Icon Fetch about his new book, new 2-CD “40th Anniversary Singles Collection” and upcoming book signings and gigs.

Find out more about Tommy James by visiting his official site, www.tommyjames.com

Read a review of Tommy James’ CD “40 Years – The Complete Singles”

Read a review of Tommy James’ book “Me, the Mob & the Music”

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