Solomon Burke, Don’t Give Up On Me

Ron Wynn

By Ron Wynn

on 04.22.11 in Reviews

Don't Give Up On Me

Solomon Burke

The Rev. Burke has lost a bit of flexibility in the upper register since his '60s and '70s heydays, but otherwise remains a formidable singer and wonderful lyric interpreter. This 2002 masterpiece spotlighted his booming voice on compositions supplied by many top rock and soul types. Dan Penn crafted the stirring title track, while Van Morrison contributed two first-rate pieces ("Fast Train" and "Only a Dream") and producer Joe Henry provided "Flesh and Blood." Henry also keeps the musical frameworks lean and nicely subordinate to the Rev. Burke's dynamic leads. His take on Tom Waits '"Diamond in Your Mind" injects soulful flourishes into the tune's dreamy fabric, while he's equally masterful covering Bob Dylan's "Stepchild" and Nick Lowe's "The Other Side of the Crown." The disc's most memorable track is Pick Purnell's "None of Us Are Free." The Rev. Burke boosts the song from a plea for global interaction to an outright demand, ultimately raising it from an introspective lament to an inspirational triumph.