Rock N Soul – Solomon Burke (1964)

Album no. 44/1001

Solomon Burke was a singer who helped establish the ‘soul’ sound in the early 1960s.

He co-wrote and was the first person to record ‘Everybody Needs Somebody To Love’, which has been covered by every man and his dog. Aside from this, he used to work selling hot dogs with another famous American singer Chubby Checker – he wrote ‘The Twist’. Fun musical friends!

Have you listened to this album before?

NK: Not once, but according to wikipedia Solomon is the ‘most unfairly overlooked singer’ of soul’s golden age, so I don’t feel like I’m alone.

CL: No.

Standout track

NK: A couple of songs stood out on this. I think ‘Cry To Me’ is the best song, and I like ‘Goodbye Baby (Baby Goodbye)’ as well. BUT, the songs that really got my attention were ‘Won’t You Give Him (One More Chance)’ and ‘You Can’t Love ‘Em All’, because the backing vocals are so weird. On both songs he sings in the first person, but the backing vocals either sing about him in the third person, or right back answering him. So he’ll sing “Just give me one more chance” and the backing vocals sing “all he needs is one more chance”, and for some reason I imagined him standing in front of a girl asking her to take him back, but with a whole chorus group doing backing vocals as well, and I couldn’t help laughing.

CL: If you’ve ever seen Dirty Dancing, YOU KNOW OLD MATE SOLOMON. You remember. From the sexy scene. ‘Cry to Me’ is easily the best song on the album. ‘Goodbye Baby (Baby Goodbye)’ was good, and ‘Beautiful Brown Eyes’ goes alright too. But then it all sort of falls over. I get what you mean about the backing vocals – they do ruin it a bit.

NK: It’s worse on ‘You Can’t Love ‘Em All’, because he’s talking about how many pretty girls there are and how it’s a pity he can’t love all of them, and the backing vocals sing back, seemingly in sympathy! “Well, I can’t love em all”, “No you can’t love em all” as if they’re shaking their heads along with him! I found it really weird and funny.

When would be the best time to listen to this?

NK: Not when you’re over tired, because you’ll just imagine unlikely scenarios with backing vocalists helping you win arguments. This would be a fine album to put on while you’re eating I think, it’s pretty chill.

CL: When you’re at an old holiday camp in the 1950s and you meet a mysterious dancing instructor who… sorry, what? No, aside from Dirty Dancing, this is another one of those late night jams when you’re a bit sad.

Why has this album been included on the list?

NK: I feel bad for Solomon, not only is he known as the most underrated soul singer, he has to follow Sam Cooke’s live album which knocked it out of the park. I guess this is a further development of the soul sound, and his voice is really good, but I don’t think the songs are up to scratch. It’s definitely not as good as Sam Cooke was.

CL: I definitely agree with this – some of the songs are pretty lacklustre, and all over the shop. And I’m really disappointed! The first two tracks kicked it off in a big way but then just dribbled away. COME ON SOLOMON.

Will you be listening again?  

NK: I don’t think so. I feel sort of bad given he’s already so underrated, but I didn’t really go for this.

CL: Well, I’ll definitely keep ‘Cry To Me’ because that’s a stone-cold banger, but probably nothing else. Sorry bud.

Rating

NK: This is possibly one of the worst things I’ve ever heard. I’m removing it from my iTunes without delay. It was offensive to my eardrums.This is possibly one of the worst things I’ve ever heard. I’m removing it from my iTunes without delay. It was offensive to my eardrums.

CL: This is possibly one of the worst things I’ve ever heard. I’m removing it from my iTunes without delay. It was offensive to my eardrums.This is possibly one of the worst things I’ve ever heard. I’m removing it from my iTunes without delay. It was offensive to my eardrums.

Listen to Rock N Soul on Spotify or buy it in iTunes.

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