I Wish I Knew Solomon Burke
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- 1I Wish I Knew [How It Would Feel To Be Free]02:52
- 2Get Out Of My Life Woman03:22
- 3Meet Me In Church03:36
- 4By The Time I Get To Phoenix02:57
- 5Then You Can Tell Me Goodbye03:04
- 6What'd I Say04:49
- 7Since I Met You Baby03:47
- 8Save It02:26
- 9Shame On Me03:35
- 10Why, Why, Why02:24
Info for I Wish I Knew
I Wish I Knew, Solomon Burke's final album for longtime home label Atlantic, is a mix of R&B oldies, sappy contemporary tunes and a scurrying search for style in the storm. Burke was in the middle of a cultural revolution when this album was made; soul music now crashed with such sonic force to keep up with pop's psychedelic trippings that Burke's blend of Sam Cooke-like cooing and Sunday-morning fervor seemed a bit quaint. The seasoning of I Wish I Knew is misguided at best.
There's a forced 'grooviness' to the tunes that makes them dusty relics of their era and a somewhat desolate end to a golden age of R&B. Burke sounds fine throughout (his singing, in fact, is nearly as fervent as it was on the previous year's treasure King Solomon), but aside from 'I Wish I Knew (How It Would Feel to Be Free),' too much of the album stinks of period goo. (Michael Gallucci, AMG)
In March of 1968, Atlantic Records had sent Solomon down to Memphis along with Tom Dowd and Arif Mardin. What they came up with is, in my opinion, one of the most under-appreciated gems in all of soul music. Had the album been titled 'Solomon in Memphis' or something (you know, like Dusty or Elvis) instead of I Wish I Knew maybe that would have helped. With great tunes like the one you're groovin' to now (written by Memphis' own Don Bryant), and Toussaint's Get Out Of My Life Woman on there, the record should have been huge.
Produced and engineered by Tom Dowd
Born March 21, 1940 in Philadelphia, PA Burke came by his gospel roots even more deeply than most soul stars. He was preaching at his family's Philadelphia church and hosting his own gospel radio show, even before he'd reached his teens. He began recording gospel and R&B sides for Apollo in the mid- to late '50s. Like several former gospel singers (Aretha Franklin, Wilson Pickett), he was molded into a more secular direction when he signed with Atlantic in the 1960s. Burke had a wealth of high-charting R&B hits in the early half of the '60s, which crossed over to the pop listings in a mild fashion as well. "Just Out of Reach," "Cry to Me," "If You Need Me," "Got to Get You Off My Mind," "Tonight's the Night," and "Goodbye Baby (Baby Goodbye)" were the most successful of these, although, unlike Franklin or Pickett, he wasn't able to expand his R&B base into a huge pop following as well. He left Atlantic in the late '60s and spent the next decade hopping between various labels, getting his biggest hit with a cover of Creedence Clearwater Revival's "Proud Mary" in 1969, and recording an album in the late '70s with the iconic Swamp Dogg as producer.
In the 1980s and 1990s, Burke became one of the most visible living exponents of classic soul music, continuing to tour and record albums in a rootsy, at times gospel-ish style. Although these were critically well received, their stylistic purity also ensured that their market was primarily confined to roots music enthusiasts rather than a pop audience. His live and later recorded work, however, is a favorite of those who want to experience a soul legend with his talents and stylistic purity relatively intact. Burke's 2002 release "Don't Give Up On Me" was hailed as a major comeback for the legendary soul man. Great songwriters like Elvis Costello, Dan Penn, Nick Lowe, and Tom Waits contributed songs and Joe Henry produced the album, which has been compared to Johnny Cash's landmark American Recordings. After the critical success of the LP reaffirmed Burke's status as one of the greatest living exponents of classic soul, the singer teamed up with producer Don Was for "Make Do With What You Got", a updated variation on his classic style that was released in spring 2005. A year later, Burke released an interesting country and soul hybrid, "Nashville", on Shout! Factory. A third album from the label, "Like a Fire", followed in 2008. In 2010 Burke independently released "Nothing's Impossible", which became legendary Willie Mitchell's last production credit before his death. Sadly, Burke himself passed a mere few months after the album's release. (Source: www.soulbluesmusic.com)
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