solomon burke

Recent content on Elsewhere by Graham Reid tagged as solomon burke.

Soulsavers: It's Not How Far You Fall, It's the Way You Land (V2) BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2007

Soulsavers: It's Not How Far You Fall, It's the Way You Land (V2) BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2007

Suffused in religion, redemption, Christian imagery and dark melancholy (aside from the uplifting opener Revival which deliberately recalls Knocking On Heaven's Door), this is an exceptional album -- and one which seems a very long way from what we might loosely call "rock culture". With guest vocalist Mark Lanegan's solemn baritone...

JJ Grey and Mofro; Country Ghetto (Southbound) BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2007

JJ Grey and Mofro; Country Ghetto (Southbound) BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2007

Of course there is white country soul -- and here is the evidence, a voice from the white trash ghetto which aches like a Southern soul singer. There is a backwoods quality here -- real steamy Georgia funk -- but it is offset by the spirit of Memphis soul, the Allman Brothers, James Brown and the blues. Quite a meltdown and if it isn't...

Joe Henry; Civilians (Anti/Shock) BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2007

Joe Henry; Civilians (Anti/Shock) BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2007

With a small band, and guests Bill Frisell (on guitar) and Van Dyke Parks (piano), the much ignored Henry continues his singular path which owes a little to a less grumbly Tom Waits but remains properly in the singer-songwriter tradition with nods to folk and the blues. Here are classically-framed ballads (You Can't Fail Me Now) and songs...

Jimmy Norman: Little Pieces (Wildflower)

Jimmy Norman: Little Pieces (Wildflower)

Quite why and how this 2004 album has turned up only now is a mystery to me, but here it. Better late than . . . This old journeyman r'n'b singer co-wrote eight songs with Bob Marley in early '68 (a few appear on the Soul Almighty collection) and Marley recorded a number of his originals, and Norman apparently wrote some lyrics for the Irma...

Various: Eccentric Soul, The Big Mack Label (Big Mack/Southbound)

Various: Eccentric Soul, The Big Mack Label (Big Mack/Southbound)

The Big Mack label out of Chicago -- launched on a dollar and a dream by entrepreneur Ed "Big Mack" McCoy -- lasted 20 years from the early 60s without a hit, or even the suggestion of one. While Motown ruled, Big Mack struggled on the margins, and yet it also produced some exceptional if cheaply recorded and somewhat ragged...

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2008: James Hunter: The Hard Way (Universal)

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2008: James Hunter: The Hard Way (Universal)

This Englishman with an unexpectedly soulful voice was one of the first artists posted at Elsewhere back in mid 2006 and that astonishing album People Gonna Talk was easily among the best of that year. But in this country with very little publicity (I saw none) it rose without a trace. Still, those who heard it got a wonderful slice of...

JAMES HUNTER INTERVIEWED: The hard way to the top (2008)

JAMES HUNTER INTERVIEWED: The hard way to the top (2008)

At 46, James Hunter from Colchester in Essex is an overnight soul-singing sensation who took a couple of decades to get to where he is. But for most people he seemed to appear out of nowhere with his breakthrough album People Gonna Talk in early 2006. Hunter’s effortless blend of Sam Cooke-styled soul with soft reggae rhythms and his...

John Hiatt: Same Old Man (Elite)

John Hiatt: Same Old Man (Elite)

It has been two decades since John Hiatt hit a high profile with the albums Bring the Family and Slow Turning. But despite some fine albums since (and a few duffers) he seems to be missed by the spotlight and has now become one of those rock-country journeymen who is more respected than actually listened to.His Crossing Muddy Waters at the start...

JOE COCKER INTERVIEWED (2005): Up where he belonged

JOE COCKER INTERVIEWED (2005): Up where he belonged

Even Joe Cocker finds it amusing he should be staying in his hotel in Denmark under an alias. After all, he’s hardly fan-bait as a crumpled 61-year old and, once out of his regulation black stage uniform, he can walk any street in most cities unrecognised. “In the daytime when I’ve got my denim jeans on and a polo shirt I...

Opensouls: Standing in the Rain (Dirty)

Opensouls: Standing in the Rain (Dirty)

To be honest, I wasn't expecting to like this quite as much as I do. Certainly some songs lack a soulful punch and you'd wish for more power in the vocals of Tyra at times. But these people write a good tune -- albeit it grounded in Motown classic riffs and shifts -- and the edgy guitars elevate it a little more than I had anticipated. It is...

Joe Henry: Blood From Stars (Anti)

Joe Henry: Blood From Stars (Anti)

There is something pointless and not a little depressing writing about another fine Joe Henry album: the 18 people who love his work probably already know of the album, and as for the rest . . . ? I guess Henry is always destined to remain something of a private passion, but it is one that Elsewhere would (again) like to share. His last...

NICK LOWE INTERVIEWED (2009): As times go by

NICK LOWE INTERVIEWED (2009): As times go by

It is one of the ironies of Nick Lowe’s life that -- despite producing the first three Elvis Costello albums, the success of his solo debut Jesus of Cool in ‘78 (retitled Pure Pop for Now People in the more sensitive American market), being in the dream team with Cooder and drummer Jim Keltner on the exceptional John Hiatt album...

Various Artists: Good God! Born Again Funk (Numero/Southbound)

Various Artists: Good God! Born Again Funk (Numero/Southbound)

The recent DVD Soundtrack for a Revolution showed how music uplifted the spirits and bonded those in the struggle for civil rights in the US in Sixties. This terrific, funky and soulful collection of contemporary gospel has much the same impact. You don't doubt Ada Richards is filled with spirit of the Lord when she roars "I'm drunk and...

Solomon Burke: Nothing's Impossible (Shock)

Solomon Burke: Nothing's Impossible (Shock)

The extraordinary Solomon Burke has enjoyed that rarity in popular music, not just a second coming but a sustained one. Music history is full of acts who come back after their first seminal period but few of them -- Dylan a notable exception, the Searchers' story the more common -- have a sustained run of artistic as well as commercial...

SAM COOKE, GOSPEL INTO POP: The change was always gonna come

SAM COOKE, GOSPEL INTO POP: The change was always gonna come

At this distance, we can’t be expected to understand what the death of Sam Cooke in the sleazy Hacienda Motel in ’64 meant to black Americans. The former gospel singer was found slumped against a wall – naked except for an overcoat and one shoe, gunned down by the motel owner after a woman he’d picked up in a bar...

Various Artists: Eccentric Soul; Smart's Palace (Numero/Southbound)

Various Artists: Eccentric Soul; Smart's Palace (Numero/Southbound)

An earlier volume of not dissimilar desperate, crazy, urgent, cheaply-recorded and often exciting soul from the Sixties and Seventies drew great praise at Elsewhere (see here) -- and, once again -- although you might never have heard a single name previously -- you can't help but be hooked by the sheer energy these artists bring. Smart's...

Eddie Hinton: I Want a Woman (1986)

Eddie Hinton: I Want a Woman (1986)

Alabama-born Eddie Hinton (1944-95) is hardly a household name but was one of the great Southern soul songwriters and sessionmen. As a Muscle Shoals musician he played guitar on scores of sessions (for everyone from Aretha Franklin to Boz Scaggs, Elvis to Solomon Burke) and was a prolific, if under-recorded, songwriter. His most notable hit...

Tom Jones: Praise and Blame (Island)

Tom Jones: Praise and Blame (Island)

The late-career revival isn't uncommon these days (Bob Dylan, Bettye LaVette, Solomon Burke, Johnny Cash et al) but it still comes as a surprise, especially in the case of 70-year old Tom Jones who could have coasted into retirement with albums of interesting standards (in the manner of Rod Stewart) or even just pick up a few contemporary songs...

Van Morrison: On Hyndford Street (1991)

Van Morrison: On Hyndford Street (1991)

By the time Van Morrison released his double album Hymns to the Silence in '91, many of his longtime followers had moved on -- some disappointed by so many uneven albums, some just having enough Van in their lives. Over two discs, Hymns to the Silence was just too much Van, and even the most generous reviewers had to note many songs were not...

LISTENING TO VAN MORRISON by GREIL MARCUS

LISTENING TO VAN MORRISON by GREIL MARCUS

Music writer Marcus is so well ensconced in the pantheon of great rock writers that his books are universally hailed on publication. But this one -- a series of essays on Morrison's music which, confusingly, comes in the same cover photo as another similar Morrison book and appears in the US and UK entitled When That Rough God Goes Riding --...

JJ Grey and Mofro: Georgia Warhorse (Alligator/Southbound)

JJ Grey and Mofro: Georgia Warhorse (Alligator/Southbound)

Grey and his companions out of Florida have been pulling Southern funk, Memphis soul and dirty blues together for the best part of a decade now and their 07 Country Ghetto album should have gained them a lot of mainstream attention. But it didn't. This one – with guest vocalist Toots (of the Maytals), and hot young blues guitarist...

AL GREEN INTERVIEWED (2004): Soul from pulpit to the street

AL GREEN INTERVIEWED (2004): Soul from pulpit to the street

In Memphis, a few kilometres south of Graceland is a small church in Hale Rd, a sidestreet off Highway 51 also known as Elvis Presley Boulevard. Not many music lovers make it this far; they are waylaid by the fridge magnets, postcards and facsimile of Elvis' drivers licence further back up the highway, or are taking the tour around the room...

JOE COCKER INTERVIEWED (2010): The school and sound of hard knocks

JOE COCKER INTERVIEWED (2010): The school and sound of hard knocks

It's a trick question, but see how you go: Who's the odd one out in this list; Hannah Montana, Britney Spears, Joe Cocker or Justin Bieber? The answer is, of course . . . the Bieber boy. He's the only one who hasn't had a song written for him by former American Idol judge Kara DioGuardi. But the real question is, what is 66-year...

Joe Cocker: Hard Knocks (Sony)

Joe Cocker: Hard Knocks (Sony)

Cocker at 66 is candid enough to say that the idea behind this album was to get him on radio because -- good though his last one Hymn For My Soul was -- it didn't sell as expected. That meant bringing in another producer (Matt Serletic who had done good work for Collective Soul and Matchbox 20), getting the word out for radio-friendly...

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2011 Charles Bradley: No Time for Dreaming (Daptone)

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2011 Charles Bradley: No Time for Dreaming (Daptone)

The title here is certainly true: 63-year old Florida-born Bradley -- an exceptional soul singer who sounds like a distillation of James Brown, aching Otis Redding, the troubled Marvin Gaye, searching Al Green and the much overlooked Sonny Charles of the Checkmates -- has barely had a chance to dream in a hard-working life. Bradley seems to...

Jerry Butler: Mr Dee Jay, I Got A Heartache (1968)

Jerry Butler: Mr Dee Jay, I Got A Heartache (1968)

Jerry Butler, one of the greatest soul singers to emerge out of Chicago, came up through the usual route: gospel in church, inspired by Sam Cooke and the Soul Stirrers, formed a group (the Impressions) and recorded for Vee-Jay down on what was known as Record Row. "Record Row was the scene," he said. "It went from just south...

JJ Grey and Mofro: Brighter Days; Live (Alligator/Southbound)

JJ Grey and Mofro: Brighter Days; Live (Alligator/Southbound)

For a decade, Florida singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Grey and his band (sax and trumpet alongside lap steel and organ) have joined the dots between Otis Redding and Stax singers out of Memphis, the Allman Brothers and Lynyrd Skynyrd, and disaffected Southerns on welfare. A white guy who sings up an aching rhythm and blues...

SOLOMON BURKE INTERVIEWED (2002): The rock'n'soul preacherman

SOLOMON BURKE INTERVIEWED (2002): The rock'n'soul preacherman

Just exactly when soul music disappeared off radio and out of people's consciousness is hard to pinpoint. Soul - born in the church and taken to the street by Ray Charles, Marvin Gaye, Otis Redding, Sam Cooke and many others in the Sixties -- simply evaporated by the early 70s. Marvin, Otis and Sam were gone, and some say the golden age ended...

The Rolling Stones, The Unstoppable Stones (1965)

The Rolling Stones, The Unstoppable Stones (1965)

The early albums by the Beatles and the Rolling Stones appeared in different versions in Britain and the States. New Zealand being a colony thankfully got the UK versions for the most part, just as the gods intended. But in some instances we got something different from both -- and in this case, better. The album The Unstoppable Stones...

Irma Thomas, The Irma Thomas Collection (1996)

Irma Thomas, The Irma Thomas Collection (1996)

In music, titles are bestowed by The People rather than being handed down from above -- and they are so singular and specific that there can only be pretenders but no replacement figures. So there is only one King of Rock'n'Roll and that's Elvis, only one Queen of Soul and that will always be Aretha, and only James Brown will ever be considered...

STANDING IN THE SHADOWS OF MOTOWN DVD REVIEWED (2003)

STANDING IN THE SHADOWS OF MOTOWN DVD REVIEWED (2003)

When music magazines make up lists of great players - best drummer, top guitarist or whatever - one name invariably appears in the best bassist countdown: James Jamerson. At which point most people might fairly ask, "James who?" Which is exactly the problem this exciting, moving, good-natured soul-funk documentary seeks to redress....

Van Morrison, It's Too Late to Stop Now (1973)

Van Morrison, It's Too Late to Stop Now (1973)

Anyone coming Johnny Rogan's thorough and sometimes exhaustive biography of Van Morrison, No Surrender, to find out why Morrison is such a curmudgeon will learn soon enough: it seems he has always been a grumpy, sullen and, when young, an occasionally violently surly character.  As a child he had lamentable social skills...

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