Solomon BurkeRegal soul legend
One of America’s greatest soul singers.
With his magisterial presence, imposing frame, and big, bold voice, it’s no surprise that legendary soul singer Solomon Burke has often been dubbed “King Solomon.” Philadelphia-born Burke incorporated strong currents of country, blues, and pop into his R&B; among his early hits were soulful versions of such country-pop crossover hits as Patsy Cline’s “Just Out of Reach (Of My Two Open Arms)” and Jim Reeves’ “He’ll Have To Go,” and the sleek, orchestrated pop arrangement of his 1962 hit “Cry To Me” was more Ben E. King than Otis Redding. Though he never stopped working, Burke fell below the radar in the ‘80s and ‘90s, concentrating variously on the blues and gospel sides of his sound. He had a comeback in the 2000s that began with the high-profile ’02 album Don’t Give Up On Me, produced by roots specialist Joe Henry, where Burke tackled tunes by the likes of Van Morrison, Tom Waits, and Elvis Costello. By this time, the sixtysomething singer had developed a stirring, dramatic delivery that lent every song he touched the spellbinding intensity of a Shakespeare soliloquy, soundly reaffirming his status as one of America’s greatest song stylists.