Solomon Burke – 1968 – I Wish I Knew – Plus (1969 – Proud Mary)

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Without question, Solomon Burke is the king of rock and soul.

But for those of you who do question Solomon’s royalty, let I Wish I Knew be an answer (but not the answer, since Big Sol had a string of great albums in the 1960s and is continuing that trend in the 2000s).  

Every song on I Wish I Knew is a knock-out, and the album as a whole is a great exposition of the range of talents Dr. Burke possesses.  He can croon, swoop, whoop, wail and holler with absolutely anyone, and I Wish I Knew gives you a taste of it all.  You can feel his vocal power in “Save It” and his power of persuasion in “Meet Me In Church.”  I’m not going to say that his version of the monumental Ray Charles hit “What’d I Say” is the definitive version, but Solomon does unleash energy in the song that you never would have known was there.

If you’re not on the Burke bus yet, isn’t it time you hop on board and join the celebration?

Tracks
A1 I Wish I Knew (How It Would Feel to Be Free)  2:51
A2 Get Out of My Life Woman 3:20
A3 Meet Me in Church 3:33
A4 By the Time I Get to Phoenix  2:56
A5 Then You Can Tell Me Goodbye  3:03
B1 What’d I Say  4:46
B2 Since I Met You Baby  3:45
B3 Save It 2:23
B4 Shame on Me 3:31
B5 Why, Why, Why 2:24

Solomon’s last album for Atlantic Records, released in 1968, may not be as well known as his earlier material, but on its own it’s a superb collection of Southern-styled soul waxings.

Burke’s joyous, thrilling version of “I Wish I Knew” brings together country church grooves with Sweet Inspirations-like backing vocals. Those honey-dipped adlibs throughout are ace, as well… When the Rev speaks, you listen.

Proto-rappin’ on the first verses of Alan Toussaint‘s New-Orleans classic “Get Out of My Life Woman“, Burke and band shift into full funk mode and get down Nawlins-style: huge, fat horns, tinkeling piano, busy drums and an all-out Mardi Gras atmosphere. One HARD socking slice of fingerlickin’ good Southern Soul.

After churning out a rendition of Joe Tex‘ slow burning “Meet Me in Church“, the Rev delves into the popular “By the Time I Get to Phoenix“, giving it a slight jazzy edge. His husky baritone was made for stuff like this, even if the definitive version of this track, naturally, was done by Isaac Hayes a year later.

John Loudermilk‘s achingly beautiful “Then You Can Tell Me Goodbye” (later done by Bettye Swann) is given the Deep Soul treatment, featuring wailing horns, gospelish piano and a gentle but punchy beat.

Burke’s spin on Ray Charles‘ “What’d I Say” is sheer soul power, a party-pumpin’ floorshaker with a few improvised lyrics, and a whole lot of raw ‘n’ dirty brassy licks, while his treatment of the standard “Since I Met You Baby” is more restrained, although it does have some lazy horns and great country-soul guitar pickings. The same pretty much goes for the equally low key “Shame on Me“, with its plodding, mid-tempo beat and vamps of brass. Fingers get back to poppin’ on the hard driving “Save It“, a heavy jam featuring Solomon at his most nitty-gritty, just blasting out a mammoth vocal. The Rev closes his final Atlantic album with the beautiful country-esque “Why Why Why“, putting in one more of his inimitable spoken interludes.

A wonderful record, essential for Soul buffs.

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Solomon Burke – 1969 – Proud Mary

Bigger than life. That’s the most accurate way to describe the regally expansive Solomon Burke: his magic carpet voice fills any room with the sweet, uplifting sound of timeless soul. And Solomon was seldom more soulful than when he ventured down to Muscle Shoals to cut his classic 1969 album Proud Mary for Bell Records.

Tracks
A1 Proud Mary 3:17
A2 These Arms of Mine 2:54
A3 I`ll Be Doggone 2:56
A4 How Big a Fool 2:15
A5 Don’t Wait Too Long 3:10
B1 That Lucky Old Sun 3:00
B2 Uptight Good Woman 2:42
B3 I Can’t Stop  2:17
B4 Please Send Me Someone to Love 3:02
B5 What Am I Living For 2:55

After having left Atlantic, big Solomon moved to New York-based Bell Records. The execs there swiftly sent the King of Rock ‘n’ Soul down to Muscle Shoals to record what would become his sole album for the label: ‘Proud Mary‘.

His cover of Creedence Clearwater Revival‘s “Proud Mary” received a glowing review from John Fogerty, which was duely printed on the album’s back cover. Indeed, Burke’s interpretation of this rock standard perfectly merges country, gospel and soul – all genres Solomon adored.

But this isn’t a one-hit album; Solomon delves deep into his roots with a chilling take on Otis Redding‘s “These Arms of Mine” and Wilson Pickett‘s earthy blues-edged slow burner “Uptight Good Woman“.

That country soul vibe is on full display on the intense “Don’t Wait Too Long“, with Solomon at his roaring-est finest, and the mesmerizing closer “What Am I Living For“, the old Don Fargo C&W smash, gospeled up for sweet soul consumption.

Good ol’ happy clappin’ uptempo soul shoutin’ comes in the guise of Burke’s own “How Big a Fool (Can a Fool Be)” and it gets greasy and funky with a superb, rugged, struttin’ reading of Marvin Gaye‘s “I’ll Be Doggone” and the blaring, horn-infested groovathon “I Can’t Stop (No No No)“, probably the loudest track on the album.

Rounding out the album are more exquisite cover versions: a smokey, husky spin on Ray Charles‘ “That Lucky Old Sun” and an equally powerful, low-fi take on Percy Mayfield‘s “Please Send Me Someone to Love“.

A pretty obscure album, but one of Solomon’s most intimate and southern-styled; a lost classic.

Download link Proud Mary

 

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Conversation for album: Solomon Burke – 1968 – I Wish I Knew – Plus (1969 – Proud Mary)

33 Comments
  • Gareth
    Posted at 14:12h, 05 January 2012 Reply

    Always come back to this one….eventually. Arguably the most underrated singer of all-time.  RIP

  • hooch
    Posted at 13:19h, 06 January 2012 Reply

    Awesome guys – thank you so much!

  • River
    Posted at 14:15h, 06 January 2012 Reply

    Amazing post! Big up!

  • Dreamer456
    Posted at 22:24h, 06 January 2012 Reply

    Thanks so much!

  • mark mathew
    Posted at 10:54h, 07 January 2012 Reply

    thumps up, yet again. We should take more time to thank you more directly with comments in regards to all the great tunes you have bought to us with total devotion. I fear the day that you may decide to give up all the hard work on this blog as it can be a bit of a downer not getting the appreciation you are more than entitled too. this therefore is a plea to all the many downloaders. it doesn’t take much of our time to leave a small comment while downloading what we are enjoying most – great music, long lost and finally found again or new to us.

  • Antoine bonfort
    Posted at 14:10h, 07 January 2012 Reply

    Thank you for sharing such gems… I saw solomon burke on concert with isaac hayes and it has the most perfect concert I have ever been…

  • Doris
    Posted at 15:17h, 07 January 2012 Reply

    This is SOUL music. RIP Solomon.

  • jahcisco
    Posted at 22:26h, 07 January 2012 Reply

    Thanks for both albums. Much appreciated. All the best for 2012.

  • Seldon
    Posted at 23:48h, 07 January 2012 Reply

    Certainly one of the greatest artists ever.

  • Rob
    Posted at 13:25h, 08 January 2012 Reply

    Nothing like the big Sol. Excellent Lp’s. Good work guys.

  • Soul is The Music
    Posted at 14:03h, 08 January 2012 Reply

    Solomon Burke, who recently passed away, was the final link to a legendary soul era.

    To be sure, many legendary Stax/Atlantic soul stars are still active: Aretha Franklin, Percy Sledge, Mavis Staples, Sam Moore and others. But most are female or created music in duos or groups, representing a different (yet certainly vital) part of soul music’s roots and growth. But like his Atlantic labelmate Ray Charles, “King” Solomon’s music drew warmly and passionately from gospel, blues, and even country-western hits, all sung from the man’s life, his love for his family, church and God.

  • Brother Erl
    Posted at 14:05h, 08 January 2012 Reply

    It was exactly what I had hoped for.

  • Omar
    Posted at 16:51h, 08 January 2012 Reply

    Incredible. Great to see these posting. I have them on vinyl, couldn’t get the sound good enough to post.

  • Genesis
    Posted at 18:15h, 08 January 2012 Reply

    Good post yourself.I hope some of the young ones will take some of this great music and run with it, add their part and revive it.

  • Martin
    Posted at 18:20h, 08 January 2012 Reply

    Great post… Preservin the good shit for the young onez to hear;) OG Shit! CLASSIC;)

  • UltimourlO
    Posted at 19:07h, 08 January 2012 Reply

    …Finally one of my Favorites…
    …as always a great work…
    !!!Another thanx from Italy!!!

  • Gerald
    Posted at 13:10h, 09 January 2012 Reply

    These needs to be on my mp3 player…

  • Constantinos
    Posted at 11:16h, 10 January 2012 Reply

    King of Rock’n’Soul. Absolutely.

  • Nikos
    Posted at 00:51h, 11 January 2012 Reply

    one of the finest moment by Solomon Burke,his voice is beautiful.

  • Victoria
    Posted at 12:30h, 11 January 2012 Reply

    Best blog on the web. Amazing work guys. Congrats.

  • good music lover
    Posted at 18:27h, 12 January 2012 Reply

    Never came across an album on this blog that wasn’t good … keep up the great work.
    Thank you so much.

  • E-mile
    Posted at 04:36h, 15 January 2012 Reply

    thanks for these 2 “early” Burke on atlantic – sweet stuff –
    you guys TRULY do funk my soul!
    peace, E-mile

  • Uma
    Posted at 13:12h, 15 January 2012 Reply

    Burke was the Man. I was lucky to see him live back in 80’s. Amazing.

  • Ryan
    Posted at 19:56h, 16 January 2012 Reply

    One of the all time greats. Gone but not forgotten………..Fantastic!­!!!

  • Lucas Olson
    Posted at 02:26h, 18 January 2012 Reply

    Thank you so much for all the work you do to bring us this amazing music. I appreciate it so much. Not only do you bring me stuff I know and love dearly but more importantly introduce me to something new and fantastic I no longer can live without. Much thanks and love!

  • Mick
    Posted at 09:41h, 18 January 2012 Reply

    Well, how i missed such an incredible singer? Amazing albums. Thanks for sharing.

  • Frankie T
    Posted at 00:08h, 19 January 2012 Reply

    Amazing. Simply amazing. You guys are great!!! THANKS

  • cleffdeadly
    Posted at 11:53h, 19 January 2012 Reply

    two great albums from one of the best! thank you for all your hard work guys…

  • Solsteele
    Posted at 00:42h, 25 January 2012 Reply

    Thanks for the share and all your hard work really apprciated- D/L now will get back to you

  • Musical Socrates
    Posted at 04:46h, 06 February 2012 Reply

    Thanks alot!

  • Daz
    Posted at 14:27h, 18 September 2012 Reply

    A couple of genuine corkers! Many thanks and keep up the good work, it’s very appreciated!
    Daz

  • TheJazzHoppa
    Posted at 23:57h, 03 July 2013 Reply

    been looking for the first joint for quite some time. thx

  • thegroove
    Posted at 11:15h, 26 November 2013 Reply

    Nice to get the long players – lookin forward to discovering the lesser known tracks on these albums.
    Thanks FMS for keeping these links alive.

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