Solomon Burke 

Don't Give Up on Me (Anti/Epitaph)

About two-thirds through "Fast Train," one of two superb Van Morrison songs on this extraordinary disc, Solomon Burke sings so powerfully, he just about lifts you off your feet. Burke's vivid baritone, never less than inspiring, infuses Morrison's urgent, cautionary tale with that full measure of luminosity available only to the greatest soul singers. At 62, Burke may be singing even better than he did in the '60s: This spare, elegantly textured and imaginatively sequenced album burns with vitality. Burke's protean, deeply persuasive voice is magnificently showcased on songs by the best contemporary writers, including Bob Dylan (the crafty shuffle "Stepchild"), Nick Lowe (the barroom ballad "The Other Side of the Coin"), Elvis Costello (the eccentric, courtly "Judgement"), and Dan Penn (the heartrending title track). The key tune is Barry Mann/Cynthia Weil/Brenda Russell's "None of Us Are Free," an anthem Burke sings with the Blind Boys of Alabama, rocking and rolling our hearts with its beautifully articulated message of liberation. This album breathes; it's profoundly moving, authentic, and contemporary. Don't Give Up on Me isn't a plea, but a command. It's your loss if you don't listen.

More by Carlo Wolff


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment


Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.


Staff Pick Events

  • Classical Café Series @ Cleveland Museum of Art

    • Tue., March 20 and Tue., March 27
  • Jon Huck @ Hilarities Comedy Club

    • Wed., March 21
  • Romantic Rachmaninoff @ Severance Hall

    • Thu., March 22