120. Solomon Burke – “Don’t Give Up On Me”

As a music fan, you hold out for those moments when you are truly blown away by a live performance. Often these moments appear from leftfield.

Solomon Burke album cover Dont Give Up On MeJust such an event happened to me a few years ago at Bluesfest up in Byron Bay. On the program was one Solomon Burke, lauded as a soul legend but with whom I was unfamiliar.

He turned out to be some much more. Perhaps the largest human I have ever seen on stage, he presided over an ever-expanding entourage of singers and players, all while ensconced in an appropriately grand and gaudy throne. The music was perfectly constructed and rousing soul. Lots of call and response, lots of theatre, great muscianship, and best of all – Burke’s charisma and voice.

What was intriguing was the quality of the songwriting on some songs. It turns out these were his latest output (i.e on this here album) and penned specifically for him by such luminaries as Dylan, Waits, Costello, V.Morrison and B.Wilson. They are beautiful, slower-paced numbers that he wraps his super smooth vocal chords around. His timing is perfect, the songs elevating him above the soul pack.

Alas I can’t find you a decent video off the album, but here’s a short snippet of him performing a tune he had on the Dirty Dancing soundtrack:

File under: A huge voice on a huge man

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2 responses to “120. Solomon Burke – “Don’t Give Up On Me”

  1. A reader emailed me a better vid link (with the added bonus of the Blind Boys from Alabama):

    Thanks Paul

  2. Very sad didn’t get the opportunity to see him perform live…surely the sexiest voice that ever was!

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