Friday, July 4, 2014

Solomon Burke

Artist: Solomon Burke
LP: Electronic Magnetism
Song: "PSR 1983"
[ listen ]

Known as "The King of Rock 'N Soul," among other things, Solomon Burke was reportedly the first to use the word "soul" to describe the sort of music he and others were making in the early 1960s. A preacher by age 7 and a father at 14, Burke lived a full and fascinating life. Aside from becoming one of the greatest singers of all time (says Rolling Stone), Solomon also owned a chain of funeral parlors and had 90 grandchildren when he died in 2010. According to Wikipedia, "Perhaps more than any other artist, the ample figure of Solomon Burke symbolized the ways that spirituality and commerce, ecstasy and entertainment, sex and salvation, individualism and brotherhood, could blend in the world of 1960s soul music." My favorite story from Burke's Wikipedia page is the one about how he would sometimes hide a midget under his 15-foot cape when he walked out on stage. Once he was front and center, Solomon would cast his cape to the floor in a dramatic flourish. Then the midget, still hidden beneath the garment, would scurry off the stage, making it seem that Solomon's cape was magically whisking itself away. Anyway, this excellent 1971 LP, Burke's first for MGM Records, was reportedly a flop. I found it at the second and final Birmingham vinyl shop I visited, Charlemagne Records, which occupies the upstairs floor of a neat old two-story building in Five Points South.

[ Solomon Burke: March 21, 1940 — October 10, 2010 ]

[ Charlemagne Records — Birmingham, Alabama ]

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