Tuesday, August 18, 2009


While gospel was a key influence for many of the great voices of '60s soul, few artists brought the spiritual and the secular together with as much skill and emotional gravity as Solomon Burke (no great surprise, given that he became a preacher later in life). However, Burke's influences went beyond gospel. He had a real gift for country influenced material, and his "Just out of Reach (Of My Two Empty Arms)" scored significant airplay on Southern C&W radio; there was plenty of raw blues in his recipe; and he had a potent sense of drama (the man's knack for a recitation was unequaled) as well as a subtle but keen wit (who else would record a dance tune called "Stupidity" and make it work?). While Burke made worthwhile records for a number of labels (and continues to do so at this writing), his strongest body of work remains his Atlantic Records sides that represent the crème de la crème for anyone with a taste for Southern soul. (Courtesy Mark Deming of Allmusic)

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