16.Feb.2019 12:37


oktober 21st, 2010

Anti Remembers Solomon Burke


Certainly Sam Cooke and Ray Charles deserve the credit they get as pioneers of Soul music, but Solomon Burke is the one who put it all together. While the aforementioned artists successfully fused R&B with gospel, their seminal records still had a foot in the earlier generation. Sam Cooke’s recordings were cloaked in pop arrangements and lilting shuffles and Ray Charles in jazz sophistication. In 1962 when Burke’s “Cry To Me” was released, R&B was still pretty much in the mold of the 50s vocal groups, albeit with slicker production (even Motown was pretty much in that groove). Of course there are some exceptions; Green Onions was released that year, but it was still basically the 50s…. for perspective, 1962 was the year that American Graffiti took place. I can only imagine what it was like to hear the red hot testifying and stomping funk of Cry To Me in that environment..

I believe this was the moment that Soul music as we think of it was born…. I’m talkin’ about the soul music of Otis Redding, Sam & Dave, Wilson Pickett…. I’m sayin’ that this singer from Philadelphia on a label from New York was a prime architect of funky, southern Soul….the link between Ray and Otis…. Pretty crazy…. If that isn’t enough, a year before that (and a year before Ray Charles did it ) Solomon Burke had a country hit with “Just Out Of Reach (Of My Two Open Arms)” A black singer from Philly with a country hit…. In Jim Crow 1961…. This man was a true pioneer. Here’s another one for you. check out his talk/singing on “The Price” and the brilliant “Take Me As I Am” and hear the genesis of the proto-raps that made Barry White and Issac Hayes household names

A lot has been said since his passing about the lack of recognition he received for his work…. I think he was just ahead of his time… Solomon’s early records in Atlantic were a template for that labels later success in Memphis and Muscle Shoals. Often the innovators have to take a back seat to the messengers, but that’s ok…. It doesn’t make him any less important…. His fellow musicians know what’s up….. when looking for songs for his “Don’t Give Up On Me” album, I was amazed at how quickly and enthusiastically all of these celebrated (and very busy) songwriters got back to us. Nobody needed any coaxing….. It kind of makes me frustrated when I see all this stuff about Dirty Dancing and The Blues Brothers in his obits. They may be a way for contemporary readers to know who he is, but it also does him a bit of an injustice…. He did so much more… …I am hoping to see more heartfelt write-ups from his fellow artists in the coming months

But enough of that…. This blog is to pay respects to a great man, and yes, I’ll state the cliché: he was larger than life in every way… his voice could do anything… shout, whisper,4 octave range, you get it…. His mischievous humor (check out his Nashville album for a glimpse of that), and his commanding presence…

I haven’t really spoken to him in a while, but for some reason he has been on my mind a lot lately, and I even had a couple of projects in mind for him. I spent an amazing year with him making and promoting a record a while back and that I will never forget. We had a lot of great times and his record paved the way for a lot of things that we are doing on the label today. See… he even pioneered us!

Thank you Solomon for everything and much love to your family

– Andy Kaulkin, Anti-Records