Solomon Burke - Rock N Soul - Review
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critics' view

The story goes something like this. After a dozen straight hits, Solomon Burke was crowned the King of Rock ’N Soul by Rockin’ Robin of radio station WEBB in Baltimore in 1964. Solomon took the title very seriously (but also with a great deal of his trademark humour). Not only is Rock ’N Soul one of the most important albums in the Solomon Burke legacy, it’s one of the best sounding ones. None of the 11 tracks (5 of them were massive hits that kept Atlantic Records - a much smaller label back then - alive at that time) is even remotely weak. Some lesser-known gems like "Won’t You Give Him (One More Chance)," "Beautiful Brown Eyes," and "He’ll Have To Go" stand today as some of the best songs the charismatic and powerful gospel singer ever recorded, and they stand just as tall as the colossus songs on Rock ’N Soul like "Cry To Me," (R&B #5, Pop#44) "Can’t Nobody Love You," (Pop #66) "Goodbye Baby (Baby Goodbye)," (Pop #33) "Just Out Of Reach (Of My Two Open Arms)," (R&B #7, Pop #24) and "You’re Good For Me" (R&B #8, Pop#49). It’s very unlikely that the world of music is ever going to see another personality like Big Sol. Someone larger than life who is a licensed mortician, infamous popcorn dealer (The Apollo Theater will never forget his pickup of soul popcorn), unshakable soul singer, ever-ready business strategist, KKK survivor, wonder-boy preacher who still spreads the word of love today (no matter what your faith is in or what religion you are), and a man who never lost his cool when James Brown tried to literally "steal" his King of Rock ’N Soul crown. No, it’s very unlikely there’ll be another Solomon Burke, and Rock ’N Soul does a remarkable job capturing everything that made Solomon what he was, and what he still is. If there ever was a singer full of more love than Solomon, I haven’t heard them.

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