Down Beat - 1/94, p.464 Stars
- Very Good - "...[Solomon Burke's] capacity for telling stories remains tremendous..."
Personnel: Solomon Burke (vocals); Clarence Hollimon, Sam Mayfield (guitar); Mark Kazonoff (harmonica, tenor & baritone saxophones); Eric Traub (tenor saxophone); Jamil Sharif (trumpet); John Touchy, Steve Suter (trombone); Sammy Berfect (piano, Hammond B-3 organ); David Tarnowsky (piano); George Porter, Jr. (bass); Herman V. Ernest III (drums).
Personnel: Solomon Burke (vocals); Solomon Burke; Selassie Burke (vocals, background vocals); Mark "Kaz" Kazanoff (harmonica, tenor saxophone, baritone saxophone); Eric Traub (saxophone, tenor saxophone); Jamil Sharif (trumpet); John Touchy (trombone); Sammy Berfect (piano, Hammond b-3 organ); George Porter, Jr., Anthony Hamilton (bass instrument); Raymond Weber (drums); Clarence Holliman, Sam Mayfield (guitar); Steve Suter (trombone); David Torkanowsky (piano); Herman V. Ernest III (drums).
Audio Mixers: Hammond Scott; David Farrell .
Liner Note Authors: John Sinclair; Shawn Amos.
Recording information: Ultrasonic Studios, New Orleans, LA (04/1993).
Editors: Hammond Scott; David Farrell .
Photographer: Rick Olivier.
Unknown Contributor Role: George Porter, Jr.
With his many businesses in wildly differing fields, it's a wonder Solomon Burke finds the time to record at all. A quick perusal of SOUL OF THE BLUES's liner notes reveals him to be, among other things, "...proprietor of a chain of funeral homes, owner of a multi-city limousine service, drugstore operator and distributor of his own line of roots, herbs and religious articles." First and foremost though, he's one of the great purveyors of deep soul, country soul, Southern soul, and pretty much any other kind of soul he's asked to sing.
Here he applies his considerable vocal talents to reworking a dozen blues classics, backed by a classy New Orleans crew that's smooth as butter and sharp as tacks, as required. Willie Dixon's "My Babe" is given the full New Orleans second-line treatment, while Ray Brown's "Good Rockin' Tonight" finds Burke giving an excellent impersonation of a blues shouter. He's at his best on the deeper, slower material such as "Letter From My Darling," which gives him a chance to flex his preacher muscles as well as show off his almost casual mastery of the country soul ballad, a genre he pretty much invented. SOUL OF THE BLUES displays Solomon Burke's loose, relaxed brilliance at its best.