Album: Solomon Burke

Don't Give up on Me, Fat Possum

To be able to draw on unrecorded material from songwriters such as Dylan, Costello, Tom Waits, Mann & Weill, Van Morrison and Brian Wilson, you have to have either a great manager or a great reputation. I don't know about his manager, but Solomon Burke's reputation is peerless: this, after all, is the man regarded as "the greatest soul singer of them all" by Atlantic's Jerry Wexler, who should know about such matters. Fortunately, Burke has found a new home with Mississippi blues specialists Fat Possum, and, in Joe Henry, a producer whose skill and ambition matches his own. Besides devising the perfect settings for numbers like Dan Penn's classic soul pleader "Don't Give Up on Me" and Waits's gospelly "Diamond in Your Mind", Henry also manages to contribute the album's standout song, a spooked soul blues called "Flesh and Blood", with Burke's mighty baritone bringing a desperate resignation to lines like "The fever in my brain is leaving smoke behind my eyes/ When the part of me that wants to change fights the part of me that tries". Nick Lowe's "The Other Side of the Coin", a bravura balancing-act of regret and pride, is likewise nicely measured for Burke, but Elvis Costello & Cait O'Riordan's "The Judgement" is a trifle mannered, throttled by a welter of clumsy legal metaphors. Elsewhere, Wilson's "Soul Searchin'" is a simple song tweaked into something special, while Dylan's "Stepchild" is given a Rosco Gordon-style R&B slouch similar to his own current work. The album's other great track, though, is Mann & Weill's "None of Us are Free" ("If one of us is chained, none of us are free"), to which the Five Blind Boys of Alabama bring a massive dignity. A marvellous, long overdue return.

Arts and Entertainment
Rachel McAdams in True Detective season 2

TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Off the wall: the cast of ‘Life in Squares’

TV
Arts and Entertainment

Books And it is whizzpopping!

Arts and Entertainment
Bono throws water at the crowd while the Edge watches as they perform in the band's first concert of their new world tour in Vancouver

MusicThey're running their own restaurants

Voices
The main entrance to the BBC headquarters in London
TV & Radio
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Solved after 200 years: the mysterious deaths of 3,000 soldiers from Napoleon's army

    Solved after 200 years

    The mysterious deaths of 3,000 soldiers from Napoleon's army
    Every regional power has betrayed the Kurds so Turkish bombing is no surprise

    Robert Fisk on the Turkey conflict

    Every regional power has betrayed the Kurds so Turkish bombing is no surprise
    Investigation into wreck of unidentified submarine found off the coast of Sweden

    Sunken sub

    Investigation underway into wreck of an unidentified submarine found off the coast of Sweden
    Instagram and Facebook have 'totally changed' the way people buy clothes

    Age of the selfie

    Instagram and Facebook have 'totally changed' the way people buy clothes
    Not so square: How BBC's Bloomsbury saga is sexing up the period drama

    Not so square

    How Virginia Woolf saga is sexing up the BBC period drama
    Rio Olympics 2016: The seven teenagers still carrying a torch for our Games hopes

    Still carrying the torch

    The seven teenagers given our Olympic hopes
    The West likes to think that 'civilisation' will defeat Isis, but history suggests otherwise

    The West likes to think that 'civilisation' will defeat Isis...

    ...but history suggests otherwise
    The bald truth: How one author's thinning hair made him a Wayne Rooney sympathiser

    The bald truth

    How thinning hair made me a Wayne Rooney sympathiser
    Froome wins second Tour de France after triumphant ride into Paris with Team Sky

    Tour de France 2015

    Froome rides into Paris to win historic second Tour
    Fifteen years ago, Concorde crashed, and a dream died. Today, the desire to travel faster than the speed of sound is growing once again

    A new beginning for supersonic flight?

    Concorde's successors are in the works 15 years on from the Paris crash
    I would never quit Labour, says Liz Kendall

    I would never quit party, says Liz Kendall

    Latest on the Labour leadership contest
    Froome seals second Tour de France victory

    Never mind Pinot, it’s bubbly for Froome

    Second Tour de France victory all but sealed
    Oh really? How the 'lowest form of wit' makes people brighter and more creative

    The uses of sarcasm

    'Lowest form of wit' actually makes people brighter and more creative
    A magazine editor with no vanity, and lots of flair

    No vanity, but lots of flair

    A tribute to the magazine editor Ingrid Sischy
    Foraging: How the British rediscovered their taste for chasing after wild food

    In praise of foraging

    How the British rediscovered their taste for wild food