cream of the crate #37 : the masters apprentices – masterpiece
cream of the crate #41 : solomon burke – solomon burke’s greatest hits
Front Çover – [CLICK to enlarge]

 

  This review was originally posted on the first Toorak Times web site where publications ceased on that site in March 2017. The old site will be permanently closed in 2020 and these reviews are being re-published in order to preserve them on the current Toorak Times/Tagg site.

cream of the crate #34 : pink floyd – the vinyl boxed set

" I walked out of the Chinese restaurant with a fat check, a record deal and a box of shrimp egg foo yung" - (Solomon Burke)


This is number forty one in the series of albums I’m featuring as part of an on-going retrospective of vinyl albums in my personal collection.

The series is called, “Cream of The Crate”, and they represent vinyl albums that I believe are of significant musical value, either because of their rarity, because they represent the best of a style or styles of music or because their is something unique about the group or the music.

The album is “Greatest Hits” by Solomon Bourke. This album was released by Atlantic Records in 1962 (Atlantic 8067) and is an American pressing with what can only be described as an incredibly solid cover.

cream of the crate #41 : solomon burke – solomon burke’s greatest hits
Album label – [CLICK to enlarge]

 

Rolling Stone said of him, “With his big, powerful voice and fervent but controlled emotionality, Solomon Burke was one of the early pioneers of soul music, though his contributions were not fully recognized until the new millennium, when he belatedly won his first Grammy“.

So if we look at Solomon Burke’s background briefly, we might glean some understanding of why or how he was overlooked for so long.

Well known by aficionados of early soul music, he was largely overlooked by mainstream listeners even though he was able to belt out punchy soul music along with the best of his peers.

Born March 21st 1940, as what he can only be described as a ‘founding father’ of soul music, he greatly shaped generations of rhythm and blues artists to come.

He had a string of hits including “Cry To Me” &”If You Need Me” (famously covered by the Stones), “Got To get You Off My Mind, “Down In The Valley” and “Everybody Needs Somebody To Love” (also successfully covered by the Stones).

His most successful period was a five year period in the early 1960’s and not surprisingly drew upon his roots of gospel, jazz, country and blues.

During a 55 year career he released 38 studio albums and 35 singles across a remarkable 17 labels. 26 of those singles made the Billboard R&B charts.

It has been written that the reasons for his success are obvious. It’s part his singing style, his choice of material and an ability to fuse the most powerful influences of the day. For me it is his vocal style that stands out!

The most outstanding element is his “Church Style“.

He was a soloist in an all black church at the age of nine, and in his teen years he was called the “Wonder Boy Preacher”. He used to broadcast his own shows from “Solomon’s Temple” in his home city of Philadelphia.

Being a virtuoso of the “Church” style we can listen with discernment and identify the strong elements of gospel, spiritual and blues idioms throughout his music.

The only other two singers in my mind, who have achieved this to the perfection of Solomon Burke would be, Sam Cook and Ray Charles.

So we come to this album, “Greatest Hits“.

It’s a sign of his success that he could release a Greatest Hits album in the very early 1960’s when he was still in the early part of his most productive of recording.

 

cream of the crate #41 : solomon burke – solomon burke’s greatest hits
Rear Cover – [CLICK to enlarge]

TRACK LISTING

Side 1
1. Down In The Valley*
2. Just Out Of Reach (Of these arms of mine)
3. How Many Times
4. Baby (I wanna be loved)
5. Gotta Travel On
6. Looking For My Baby*

Side 2
1. I’m Hanging Up My Heart For You
2. Cry To Me
3. I Almost Lost My Mind
4. A Tear Fell
5. Be Bop Grandma*
6. Keep The Magic Working
* Solomon Burke

The album has two of his biggest hits ever, those being “Down In The Valley” and, “Cry To Me“. Cry To Me was covered just a few years later by the Rolling Stones.

Down In The Valley

cream of the crate #41 : solomon burke – solomon burke’s greatest hits
Solomon Burke Live – [CLICK to enlarge]

 

Cry To Me

LYRICS:
When your baby, leaves you all alone,
And nobody, calls you on the phone,
Don’t you feel like crying, don’t you feel like crying,
Well here I am my hunny, c’mon cry to me.

When your all alone, in your lonely room,
And there’s nothing, but the smell of her perfume,
Don’t you feel like crying, don’t you feel like crying,
Don’t you feel like crying, c’mon, c’mon cry to me.

Whoa, nothing can be sadder than a glass of wine alone,
Loneliness, loneliness, such a waste of time, whoa yer,
You don’t ever have walk alone, well u see,
C’mon take my hand, and baby won’t you walk with me,
Whoa yer.

When your waiting, for a voice to come,
In the night, well there’s no one,
Don’t you feel like crying, don’t you feel like crying,
Don’t you feel like cr-cr-cr-cr-cr-cry cr-cr-cr-cr-cr-cr-cryin,
Don’t you feel like cr-cr-cr-cr-cr-cry cr-cr-cr-cr-cr-cr-cryin.

The album has an incredible selection of music representing his amazing variety of styles of singing and presentation.

The two other tracks I’m providing you with are, apart from the two tracks previously provided, two of my favourites. “Be Bop Grandma” is a great track because it is a fantastic ‘cross-over’ track, that encompasses elements of Jazz, R ‘n’ B and a form of Rock and Roll, albeit not having the traditional ‘back-beat’. I really like the guitar work!

It is a celebratory track, good time music that is great too dance to, sing to, or to sit and simply enjoy.

Be Bop Grandma

Finally, and this wasn’t an easy choice as it could have been one of three other tracks, I have chosen “Got To Travel On“.

This track is nicely pushed on by some good organ playing, but it is the addition of a tuba and later brass that gives it both a church and New Orlean’s feel’.

cream of the crate #41 : solomon burke – solomon burke’s greatest hits
A young Solomon Burke

The track was recorded by country artist Billy Grammer, who had it as a hit, and later by none other than Bob Dylan, so it’s interesting to hear how Solomon Burke has put his own feel and style on this uptempo track, and in my mind typifies why he was such an incredibly talented man.

Got To Travel On

I really don’t have to work hard at summarising this fantastic album, because Paul Ackerman, who was an influential music journalist of the time, as done for me on the liner notes.

He writes, “The reasons for the singers success are obvious to most students of the ‘pop’ music business and are certainly of interest to the record collector. Briefly these reasons are: Burke’s singing style and his choice of material, as illustrated in this album, represent a fusion of the most powerful influences in today’s complex music and record industry . . . (he has) a virtuoso style and repertoire derived from the roots – Musical Americana.”

Solomon Burke was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2001 and up until his death on October 10, 2010 had sold an incredible 17 million albums. Rolling Stone ranked him as #89 in their “100 Greatest Singers of All Time”.

Somewhat sadly, as it is an indictment of the lack of appreciation for this man’s music, that the vinyl LP can still be purchased for around Au$10.00 and about the same for the CD.

cream of the crate #41 : solomon burke – solomon burke’s greatest hits
Belting it out! – [CLICK to enlarge]
In this day and age R ‘n’ B and Soul has taken on a different direction to when Solomon Burke was at his peak.

To purists of the soul sound, this period is the best and Solomon Burke should be remembered as one of the very best.

Certainly he continued to perform up until his death, and that is a reflection of his ability to still draw a crowd.

I would recommend this album to anyone who is looking for either an unusual album to their collection, or who enjoys this style of music.

You will not be disappointed.


VIDEOS:

Sadly there appear to be no video clips of live performances by Solomon Burke from the 1960’s. There are many videos of performances in his latter years and I’ll leave that up top you to search out on Youtube if you care to.


 

Previous Cream of The Crate Albums:

Click to open:

#1.   Howling Wolf: Real Folk Blues

#2.   Otis Redding: Otis Blue

#3.   Dr John: Gris Gris

#4.   Spectrum: Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, Violet

#5.   Son House – The Real Delta Blues

#6.   Various Artists – Cruisin’ 1961

#7.   Various Artists – Live At The Station Hotel

#8.   Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young – Deja Vu

#9.   Moon Mullican – Seven Nights To Rock

#10. Billy Thorpe – Time Traveller

#11. Bobby & Laurie – Hitch Hiker

#12. Jimi Hendrix – Electric Ladyland

#13. The Beatles – The Beatles Collection [A Box Set]

#14. Johnny O’Keefe – 20th Anniversary Album

#15. Jimmy Cliff – The Harder they Come (Music form the soundtrack to the film)

#16. Frank Zappa – Roxy and Elsewhere

#17. Junior Walker & The All Stars – Roadrunner

#18. Various Artists – Jump Children [Voit Voit]

#19. Various Artists – King – Federal Rockabillys

#20. Max Merritt & The Meteors – Max Merritt & The Meteors

#21. Planet Gong – Camembert Electronique

#22. Earth, Wind & Fire – Head To The Sky

#23. Ellen MclLwaine – We The People

#24. The Easybeats – Absolute Anthology [1965 – 1969]

#25. Rainbow Generator – Dance Of The Spheres

#26. Martha & The Vandellas – Greatest Hits

#27. Buddy Holly – The Rock & Roll Collection

#28. The Who – Quadrophenia

#29. Elvis – The Legend (1954 – 1961): A Boxed Set

#30. Col Joye – Lets Rock With

#31. The Yardbirds – For Your Love

#32. Eddie Cochran – The Singles Album

#33. Krozier & The Generator – Tranceformer

#34. Pink Floyd – The Vinyl Boxed Set

#35. Jackie Wilson – Jackie Sings the Blues

#36. Cream – Wheels of Fire [In the Studio]

#37. The Masters Apprentices – Masterpiece

#38. Dead Kennedys – Fresh Fruit For Rotting Vegetables

#39. Billy Holiday – The Original Recordings

#40. MPD LTD – The Wild Side Of Life