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Old 01-12-2010, 08:14 AM   #1 (permalink)
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I love Solomon Burke .. this might be the wrong forum .. I'll start with some information

Solomon Burke Website
Solomon Burke on Wikipedia

Career

Soul vocalist and songwriter. Gave sermons and sang gospel music broadcast on Philadelphia radio through his teen years; signed to Apollo label, ca. 1955; worked as mortician, late 1950s; signed to Atlantic label, 1960; recorded first major hit, "Just Out of Reach," 1961; reached R&B Top Five with "Cry to Me" (1962) and "If You Need Me" (1963); topped R&B charts with "Got to Get You Off of My Mind," 1965; moved to Bell label, 1969; recorded for Dunhill, MGM, and Chess labels, 1970s; continued to tour with 21-piece band through 1990s.

Life's Work

Not the best known star in the firmament of 1960s soul music but perhaps the one with the most intensely emotional vocal style, Solomon Burke transplanted elements of black church services into secular music more effectively than any other artist except for perhaps Aretha Franklin. Burke enjoyed his greatest renown as part of the stable of soul vocalists under contract with the Atlantic record label in the mid-1960s. He remained a consistent crowd-pleaser into the twenty-first century thanks in part to his luxurious self-presentation on stage; dubbed the "King of Rock and Soul," he once had an exact replica of the British crown jewels made for his onstage "coronations."

Solomon Burke was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1936. His family was religious: he attended church services at the House of God for All People and sang gospel music all through his childhood. His musical solo debut came with the church's choir when he was nine, but it was preaching, not singing, that first marked him as something special. Soon he was giving sermons and becoming known as the Wonder Boy Preacher. He began hosting a gospel program on Philadelphia radio by age 12 or 13, broadcasting from a church of his own that he called Solomon's Temple.

Recorded Song Written for Grandmother

Burke's radio program mixed preaching and gospel singing, and in his late teens the power of his voice caught the attention of the wife of a Philadelphia disc jockey who in turn pitched Burke to record label executives of his acquaintance. Burke's recording debut came in 1955 with a song he had written for his grandmother entitled "Christmas Presents from Heaven." Recording for the New York-based Apollo label he soon began to make forays into the secular field; whether the rock-and-roll-oriented "Be Bop Grandma" of 1959 referred to the same grandmother is not known.

Reaping few financial rewards from his early recordings, Burke made a living by learning the mortuary trade. He remained involved in the funeral business after becoming a star, investing some of his earnings in a chain of funeral homes on the West Coast. "Solomon Burke knock you dead from the bandstand," fellow soul vocalist Joe Tex observed to writer Gerri Hirshey who authored No Where to Run. "Then he gift-wrap you for the trip home."

Burke's fiery yet controlled vocal style caught the attention of Atlantic Records, the leading rhythm-and-blues label of the day. Atlantic sensed that Burke had the potential to connect with diverse audiences. "He had a kind of gospel feeling to his singing, and he was also a little bit country," Atlantic executive Ahmet Ertegun told author Gerri Hirshey. Signed to Atlantic in 1960, Burke was brought under the influence of Atlantic producer Jerry Wexler's instinct for unexpected style mixtures. Burke's first major hit came in 1961 with a country song, "Just Out of Reach." Although vocalist Ray Charles is usually credited with developing successful country-soul fusions in the 1960s, Burke's effort preceded Charles's major country-style hits and may have helped to inspire them.




Last edited by Magic; 10-22-2012 at 08:41 AM. Reason: thread updated.
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Old 01-12-2010, 08:16 AM   #2 (permalink)
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smile Re: Solomon Burke

Post #2 ~

Southern Performances of Country Material

The country side of his work set Burke apart from other singers. "That got me a lot of bookings in the Deep South, in some places no other black artists could get into," Burke told Hirshey. "That kind of country soul bridged a lot of waters. Of course, once or twice it darn near killed me." The singer was referring to a bizarre incident in which he and his band were booked to provide entertainment for a Ku Klux Klan rally--from which the group nevertheless emerged unscathed as hooded Klansmen repeatedly requested Burke's hits.

In 1962 and 1963 Burke cracked the Top Five of Billboard magazine's rhythm-and-blues chart with "Cry to Me" and "If You Need Me," two recordings that fit the mold of what would soon be called soul music--songs in established rhythm-and-blues forms augmented by vocal devices and a fervent emotional tone borrowed from the world of gospel. In one section of "Cry to Me," Burke broke into an ecstatic high stutter that helped pave the way for some of the other acrobatic vocal devices of soul. Always appreciated by his fellow musicians, Burke numbered among his musical descendants the British rock band the Rolling Stones, which recorded covers of "Cry to Me" and several other Burke songs. Burke finally topped rhythm-and-blues charts in 1965 with "Got to Get You Off My Mind."

Fathered 21 Children

Record sales, however, were always less important to Burke than his flamboyant live appearances. Described by Gerri Hirshey as "a great, undulating vision of sea-green satin and rhinestones" and often appearing on stage in an ermine-trimmed cape or a gold lamé jacket, Burke played on the tension between his gospel roots and his sensual appeal. "It would be a sin to pass up the pleasures the Lord made just for us," Hirshey quoted him as saying, and indeed Burke has fathered 21 children, large groups of whom he has sometimes dressed identically. Long after his era of hit-making had ended, Burke continued to tour with a 21-piece band and to command strong attraction from female fans.

By the late 1960s the focus of soul music had shifted south, to the Stax label in Memphis and Fame Records in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, and Burke fell out of the limelight. In part Burke blamed Wexler. "My relationship with Jerry Wexler is like a two-way street," Burke told Billboard in 1997. "There's one side where I'm angry for a lot for things that didn't go down and one side where I'm very grateful that he was there, because he did develop Solomon Burke to a certain point and then he stopped." Nevertheless, Burke included a Wexler-produced track on his 1997 album, Definition of Soul.

Leaving Atlantic in 1969, Burke recorded for the Bell label (for which he cut several fine tracks in Muscle Shoals) and for the Dunhill, MGM, and Chess labels through the 1970s; he has continued to record intermittently. The 1981 album, Take Me, Shake Me, recorded for the Savoy label, showcased his gospel skills. In 1987 he appeared in the film, The Big Easy. Burke's stage show survived little altered through the 1990s, and various collections of his recordings that appeared became, in the words of allmusic.com's Richie Unterberger, favorites of those "who want to experience a soul legend with talent and stylistic purity relatively intact." Solomon Burke was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in April of 2001.



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Old 01-12-2010, 08:17 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Old 01-12-2010, 08:18 AM   #4 (permalink)
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A very very cool video ~

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Old 01-12-2010, 09:11 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Exclamation Re: Solomon Burke

Fantastic, just fantastic! Here the Rolling Stones get to play with one of the American rhythm & blues artists they idolized while they were in school - and then Solomon blindsides Mick by having a roadie drape his royal cape over Mick. Just so very cool!

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Old 01-12-2010, 03:05 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Exclamation Re: Solomon Burke

I had the pleasure to take in a Solomon Burke concert at Toronto's fabled Massey Hall in 2006. It was a full house - but not quite as full as the stage. In addition to Solomon's 500 pound or so bulk, he had a 21 piece band. Backing vocals were provided by a choir of at least a couple dozen of his granddaughters and youngest daughters, all of whom showed him rapt filial devotion. Two or three of the youngest were always jumping to wipe his brow with a cloth or bringing him a drink whenever needed.

Solomon therefore heads up a good sized industrial complex providing gainful employment to several dozen offspring and assorted friends and hangers on. And it's all built on the foundation of several soul ballads that he turned into hits in the early sixties!

Two other things stood out as well. The first was his masterful and total control of his band. With one motion of his massive hand, he would quiet or still the band completely and then bring it back to full volume with another gesture. His voice has also stayed as smooth as butter and it's no wonder he had those hits (or fathered all those children). What's surprising is that he didn't have more - hits that is.






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Old 04-20-2010, 06:41 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Old 05-18-2010, 03:41 PM   #8 (permalink)
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This is the song for which Solomon is best known:



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Old 05-18-2010, 06:24 PM   #9 (permalink)
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smile Re: Solomon Burke

Originally Posted by Hepcat View Post
This is the song for which Solomon is best known:



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Old 06-30-2010, 02:52 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Solomon Burke


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Hey Flower! Nice thread and you really do a good job showing the versatility of this artist. I don't know if everyone on here knows but I get into a lot of the old soul artist and this guy is definitely talented. He was able to do everything from soul, to gospel, to jamming with rock bands (fun RS video BTW) to even singing country. Major props to this artist plus he sure can command an audience!
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