Friday, January 16, 2009

January 16, 2009: Solomon Burke - "Flesh and Blood"

Earlier this decade, there was sort of a mini-revolution of R&B legends making "back to basics," old-school type albums. At the forefront, was Solomon Burke's 2002 album Don't Give Up On Me on Epitaph/Fat Possum. Produced by Joe Henry, it featured new recordings of the "king of rock and soul" on songs written by the likes of some guys named Bob Dylan, Tom Waits, Brian Wilson, Van Morrison, Elvis Costello, and Dan Penn, among others.

The album won a Grammy for Best Contemporary Blues Album, and kickstarted a resurgence of interest in King Solomon, as well as a second career for Henry as a producer-for-hire for soul icons. While Henry's following production endeavors felt, frankly, nothing more than masturbatory, and Solomon's future releases suffered from inferior material and production, there was undeniable magic taking place on Don't Give Up On Me.

It's a tough call, but if I had to choose, my choice for the best cut on the album - even amongst all those songwriting luminaries - would be the Joe Henry-penned "Flesh and Blood."

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