Archive for the ‘Solomon Burke’ Category

Wilson Pickett

Tuesday, January 24th, 2012

Listen: In The Midnight Hour / Wilson Pickett

The UK promo above came from Vicki Wickham’s collection, which she so generously donated my way. Let me tell you one of many things about Vicki, she’s a saint. Who else rings up, finding boxes of forgotten, valuable records, and just offers them to a friend? Not many, maybe no one. Well that’s Vicki.

The way I put it back on her was, there’ll always be yours, and here if you ever need them. She was happy, me too.

Nothing I can tell you about ‘In The Midnight Hour’ that the readers of this blog don’t already know, so hopefully giving it a play now will at least bring you back to when you first heard it. Dare I proclaim, that moment has to be impossible to forget.

Listen: Everybody Needs Somebody To Love / Wilson Pickett

It was ‘Everybody Needs Somebody To Love’, another one from her lot, that really brought me back, not only to Solomon Burke, but The Rolling Stones. Yeah, as a little white kid growing up in the no black folks allowed sticks, it made a very deep imprint on my life, opening side one of THE ROLLING STONES, NOW!. An all time favorite album, the origins of that memory are chronicled elsewhere on this blog.

The real flashback though is them opening both their ’65 and ’66 Syracuse shows with it, Mick Jagger pointing in every possible direction around the arena, while singing the lines “I need you, you, you”. Each of those finger points resulting in even louder shrieks from that section than the rest of the venue, all losing their gear uncontrollably regardless.

Not that Wilson Pickett doesn’t reel this in on his own. Man, these guys could sing the phone book and it would be a hit. Released in early ’67, a track from his then brand new THE BEST OF WILSON PICKETT collection, ‘Everybody Needs Somebody To Love’ still found a path to #29 Pop / #19 RnB. The power of greatness.

Solomon Burke

Monday, July 5th, 2010

Listen: You Can Make It If You Try / Solomon Burke01 You Can Make It If You Try.mp3

A Philadelphia native, and trained in gospel, Solomon Burke had his biggest success during the ’60′s in the south, where they coined his sound ‘river deep country fried buttercream soul’. Who on earth would not want to hear this guy after a description like that?

I found out about Solomon Burke like every other white kid in the day, through the English groups covering all the classic blues and RnB hits. Yes, the originals were right here in my own back yard. Occasionally one of these would slip into the pop stations’ playlists, but not near enough. At the time, I would have probably dismissed the original anyways, preferring all the hepped up excitement of the British Invasion version and how that movement was changing my culture, my haircut and my clothes.

But on further investigation in the early 70′s, it was fantastic to find a whole world of great records yet to own and cherish. The Rolling Stones were clearly Solomon Burke fans, covering a bunch of the songs he had RnB success with. Those covers were spread out over the first 5 US albums including this one ‘You Can Make It If You Try’ (on their debut, ENGLAND’S NEWEST HIT MAKERS). So really, it’s through The Rolling Stones that I discovered him. The flip side of this single is equally great: ‘If You Need Me’, also recorded by them and included on 12 X 5 (as is his ‘Everybody Needs Somebody To Love’). OUT OF OUR HEADS included ‘Cry To Me’, although The Pretty Things’ version is true to Solomon’s exactly.

Listen: The Price / Solomon Burke 01 The Price.mp3

The covers of Solomon Burke’s catalog are many, from Dr. Feelgood’s ‘Stupidity’ to The Herd’s ‘Goodbye Baby (Baby Goodbye)’. So fierce was his vocal bite, that certain songs were just not even tried by others. One such favorite of mine, ‘The Price’, arranged by Northern Soul great Teacho Wilshire and produced by Bert Berns, could certainly have been served well at that time by Janis Joplin or maybe Chris Farlowe, but no other white voices that I know of. Great news: Solomon Burke is still alive. Go see him sing and get ready to lose it.

The Sweet Inspirations

Thursday, June 24th, 2010

Sweet Inspiration / The Sweet Inspirations

Listen: Sweet Inspiration / The Sweet Inspirations
Sweet Inspiration / The Sweet Inspirations

That's How Strong My Love Is / The Sweet Inspirations

Listen: That’s How Strong My Love Is / The Sweet Inspirations
That's How Strong My Love Is / The Sweet Inspirations

Cissy Houston, Lee Warrick with daughters Dee Dee and Dionne Warwick, Judy Clay, Doris Try – they were all members of The Sweet Inspirations at one time or another. Even if you haven’t heard these classics by them – you have heard these voices many times, contributing to endless sessions by Solomon Burke, Wilson Pickett, Aretha Franklin, Esther Phillips, Van Morrison’s ‘Brown Eyed Girl’, The Jimi Hendrix Experience’s ‘Burning Of The Midnight Lamp’, even Elvis. Ahmet Ertegan finally decided in 1967 to record them as their own entity. Not only cutting an initial album, but in a one year window, they recorded three. Their versions of current hits became hits again – this time for themselves: ‘Why (Am I Treated So Bad)’, ‘To Love Somebody’, ‘Unchained Melody’. They really hit pay dirt with The Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section in Alabama during the early months of 1969 – from which these singles come. Their theme song is a classic. And the gospel purity of ‘That’s How Strong My Love Is’ makes for difficult upstaging.

The Show Stoppers

Thursday, April 29th, 2010

Showstoppers, The Show Stoppers, Heritage, Solomon Burke

Listen: Ain’t Nothin’ But A House Party / The Show Stoppers Showstoppers.mp3

I truly thought this was a much bigger national hit than it’s Billboard #87 peak (in ’68). I guess the song got well known but the charts never reflected it. Happens a lot. Often records quitely sell and sell weekly until one day – boom – you have a gold record. Example: Screamin’ Jay Hawkin’s ‘I Put A Spell On You You’ (platinum actually), The Ramones 1st album as well The Sex Pistols US debut.

Pretty sure this didn’t quite go gold, but God knows with all the shadey accounting rampant in the 60′s independent label and distribution world.

But what a stomper, Northern floor filler, and every other well coined, over used slogan. Of special interest to me: Solomon Burke’s two brothers were 1/2 of the lineup.

Betty Harris

Friday, June 19th, 2009

betty-harris-cry, betty harris, jubilee, bert berns, the pretty things, solomon burke, the rolling stones

Listen: Cry To Me / Betty Harris BettyHarrisCryToMe.mp3

betty-harris-liar, betty harris, jubilee, bert burns, the pretty things, solomon burke, the rolling stones

Listen: I’ll Be A Liar / Betty Harris BettyHarrisIllBeALiar.mp3

Bert Berns’ classic ‘Cry To Me’ had the luxury of being recorded by some truly seminal acts: Solomon Burke (who cut the classic original RnB chart entry), The Rolling Stones and The Pretty Things (see previous post). Often criminally overlooked when sighting legendary versions, Betty Harris not only belts out a rip roar performance for this A side, but actually out does herself on the flip ‘I’ll Be A Liar’. Also written by Burns, and as with it’s top side, produced by Leiber & Stoller, I’d bet this is the hotter of the two. The sparsity of the arrangement leaves plenty of space for her to shred the lead – pretty much scaring off any female competition. I don’t know of another version.

Betty went on from Jubilee to the Sansu label, recording ten singles there with Allen Toussaint. Although most of her work is collectable to both Deep Soul and Northern fans, my money’s on this essential double sider as the Betty Harris desert island choice.