Solomon Burke's 2002 Grammy-winning CD Don't Give
Up On Me was one of the more surprising comebacks in recent years.
In it, a classic R&B singer who had been well under the radar (and
working as a Reverend in Los Angeles) had some of the most respected names
in music donating songs to him — including Bob Dylan, Brian Wilson, Elvis
Costello, Tom Waits and Van Morrison.
t is nice to see that Burke is no longer willing to
allow moss to grow beneath his career; his follow-up CD Make Do With What
You Got is another impressive set. Burke has replaced rootsy
producer Joe Henry with the more contemporary sounding boardsman Don Was (Bonnie
Raitt, The B-52s, The Rolling Stones.) Because of this, Burke is rocking out more
here than on the last CD, coming screeching out of the gates on the
superlative rave-up "I Need Your Love In My Life." He follows this up
with heartfelt takes on Dylan's "What Good Am I?" and Robbie Robertson's "It
Makes No Difference" and the album is off to the races.
The musicianship here is amazing (particularly
surprising is lead guitarist Ray Parker, Jr., who lays down such sultry
grooves that I'm even willing to forgive him for "Ghostbusters.")
However, the biggest selling point is the gruff vocals of the big guy behind
Make Do With What You Got sounds like it was
recorded back in Burke's sixties heyday. It's nice to see that as much
as the world changes, some things are comfortingly solid as a rock.
The guy may be sixty-five-years old, but from the evidence of the last two
albums he's recorded, he still has years of interesting music to come.