Tag Archives: Solomon Burke

Icon Fetch Album of the Year

Solomon Burke – Nothing’s Impossible

When I first heard this record in the spring of 2010, I knew it was special.  I’m a big fan of classic soul music – strings, horns, and fat drums way up in the mix.  Somewhere around 1980, things went all wrong; blame it on the synthesizer in my opinion.  Why hire a whole room full of musicians when you can recreate their sound with the touch of a button?  But, something was certainly lost in the process – and that was FEEL.

The first thing you notice about Nothing’s Impossible is that it sounds like a classic soul record should – REAL strings, horns and drums, and that irresistible Willie Mitchell production, originally heard on so many great records from Al Green to Ann Peebles.  But, it’s more than just the backing tracks here that make it stand out.  Solomon Burke’s voice is still a commanding presence, still capable of giving you goosebumps.  There’s something in that voice that is warm and comforting; it’s as if he’s saying that he’ll take care of all of us – and he was a big enough man to do it too.  But, I noticed in my first review back in May a sadness that had never been in any of his previous works.  Perhaps he saw the light at the end of the tunnel.  Mitchell passed away just ten days after completing these sessions, and then Burke followed less than six months later.

Just in case you think that the teaming of a legendary producer and a legendary performer is an easy one – consider the disastrous Phil Spector sessions for both Dion and John Lennon.  There was mutual respect and admiration between Burke and Mitchell that helped the project get off the ground.  It didn’t hurt that both of them were still at the top of their game, with Mitchell recently producing a fine Al Green record, while Burke had recently released several other critically-acclaimed discs.  The fact is, no other singer could have taken these songs and injected so much passion.  And, no other producer could have surrounded Burke’s voice so sympathetically.  It was a match, made in heaven

There were a surprising amount of great CDs released in 2010, but in going back and revisiting them all, I kept asking – “Is this something that we’ll enjoy ten, even twenty years from now”? and “Could this album be put right next to that person’s best work”?  The answers, in Solomon Burke’s case, are a resounding “yes” to both.  Nobody makes soul records like this anymore, but we’re certainly glad they did.  –Tony Peters

#34 – Solomon Burke Tribute

Solomon Burke

Solomon Burke was one of the greatest soul singers of all time. Sadly, he passed away over the weekend at the age of 70. Icon Fetch had a chance to talk with Solomon back in May about his latest CD, “Nothing’s Impossible.” We’re going to re-air that interview, plus delve more into his classic music, as well as talk with some of the people that were influenced by his artistry.  Click below to hear the tribute and to listen to the interview with Solomon Burke.

Solomon Burke 1940-2010 R.I.P.

I am deeply saddened by the passing of the great Solomon Burke.  I had the opportunity to talk with him back in May for an interview for Icon Fetch.  The first thing he said to me when he answered the phone was “you calling from Dayton?  I love Dayton.  As I kid I thought that I could get a date, if I went to Dayton!”  Then, I told him about one of our greatest exports: Esther Price/Mike Sells Chocolate Covered Potato Chips, to which he replied “I gotta get me some of them!”

I promised to drop some into the mail after our interview.  When I started rolling tape he said, “I’m excited…I know this is gonna be a good interview, because we’ve already covered two of my favorite subjects: women and food…ha ha ha!”  He continued to reference the potato chips throughout the interview.

As we talked, I was stuck by how magnetic he was, even through the phone.  I understood how I could easily have sat in his congregation one Sunday morning and been captivated.  His last CD, “Nothing’s Impossible,” had just been released, and you could tell he was extremely proud of it.  He got emotional when talking about the recording process, and how producer Willie Mitchell passed away just 10 days after completing the project.  We now know that the teaming of the two legends was no accident, and that “Nothing’s Impossible” provides fitting tribute to both of their legacies.

Nearing the end of the interview, Solomon talked of a new project he wanted to do where his fans would pick certain songs and he would record them.  Sadly, it’s an album he never saw to completion.  After the interview, I told him I had a suggestion for that project.  Since he had been such good friends with Sam Cooke, perhaps he could do his take on one of Sam’s songs.  At this, he got very quiet and then said “I want to send you something.”  He wouldn’t tell me what it was, but a few days later, I received a package containing a DVD of Solomon’s performance at the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame Tribute to Sam Cooke.  It was a disc that had never been released, but he wanted me to have it.  I was floored by a moving duet that he and Aretha Franklin did on that show.  The box also contained several Solomon Burke t-shirts in it.

About a week later, I received an email from Solomon’s office saying that he had received my package and that he was thoroughly enjoying the chocolate covered potato chips.  At the time, he was gearing up for his first tour of Japan.  I was amazed at how much energy he still had.

Through the Icon Fetch show, I’ve been able to interview a long list of performers, and a lot of them gave me great interviews.  But, I never felt the connection that I did with Solomon Burke.  In doing research for the original interview, I was shocked to learn that he had such little success on the pop charts.  Listening to his songs now, it truly is one of the biggest crimes in music that he didn’t receive the success that he truly deserved.  Do yourself a favor and check out some of Solomon’s music, be it his classic material for Atlantic, or his final record “Nothing’s Impossible” produced by Willie Mitchell. You will be moved.  We have planned a tribute to Solomon Burke to air Monday night at 9pm Eastern.

#4 – Solomon Burke – Nothing’s Impossible & Robert Rodriguez – Fab Four FAQ 2.0

He is the King of Rock and Soul, Mr. Solomon Burke, and he’s just released his latest CD, “Nothing’s Impossible.” We’ll talk to Solomon about recording the new record with legendary producer Willie Mitchell, who weeks after wrapping up the sessions, passed away of heart failure. Mitchell was responsible for most of Al Green’s big hits and lends that same style to Burke’s disc.

Solomon had a great string of R&B hits in the mid-60’s, but is probably best known for “Everybody Needs Somebody to Love,” a song covered by the Rolling Stones and featured prominently in the Blues Brothers movie.  Burke’s other film credits include working alongside Dennis Quaid in “The Big Easy.”  He won a Grammy in 2002 for his album “Don’t Give Up On Me.”  Click below for the Solomon Burke interview.  {mp3}show4solomonburke{/mp3}  {enclose show4solomonburke.mp3}

For more information on Solomon Burke, visit his official site (www.thekingsolomonburke.com)

Also on the show is Robert Rodriguez, author of “Fab Four FAQ 2.0“.  He talks to Icon Fetch about his new Beatles book, covering the solo years 1970-1980.  Robert’s interview is at the end of our show with Solomon Burke.  Click below for the Robert Rodriguez Beatles interview.

Robert’s official site is: www.fabfourfaq2.com

Solomon Burke – Very Best of (CD review)

Solomon Burke – The Very Best Of (Rhino) – CD review –

His best songs will make you shout, just like you were in a gospel meeting.

Solomon Burke never enjoyed the chart success that some of his contemporaries, like Sam Cooke & Wilson Pickett had.  But, that doesn’t mean he didn’t make incredible music.  On the contrary, the songs collected on this disc are so full of passion and grit, they make the hair on the back of your neck stand up.

This budget-priced collection does a pretty good job of collecting his seminal sides for Atlantic Records during the sixties.  For money you could find in your couch, you get his early blend of country with R&B “Just Out of Reach,” plus the should of been smashes “Cry to Me” and “Everybody Needs Somebody to Love” (both covered by the Rolling Stones).  Another standout is “Gotta Get You Off My Mind,” written the night his friend, Sam Cooke, was murdered.  “Can’t Nobody Love You” is Burke at his pleading best.  As a bonus, the set contains “Soul Meeting,” a collaboration between Burke, Ben E. King, Joe Tex, Don Covay, & Arthur Conley.  A great set by an underrated legend. –Tony Peters

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