Solomon Burke – Nashville (CD)

I see a lot of parallels in Solomon Burke and Johnny Cash. I started thinking about the comparisons when I read that “Nashville” was Burke’s cover album, where ey takes on country classics by individuals as widespread as Tom T. Hall, Dolly Parton, and Don Williams. This is similar to the American series of CDs that were released by Johnny Cash. Looking at a history of Burke, the sheer amount of recordings that ey has done since coming onto the scene in 1962 (as a fresh-faced 22 year old) parallels that of the man in black eirself.

I feel unworthy to review an album like this without having intimate knowledge of the original style in which the songs on this disc were created. However, what Burke does on “Nashville” is take all the extraneous context and bagged of the tracks and converts them into eir own. This means that “Nashville” has a commonality between the tracks that ultimately makes this into a cohesive and coherent album. The fact that all iof these tracks unite to make something greater than the sum of its part has to be due partially to the facts that the tracks were recorded in Burke’s own home. With Burke in the most comfortable place that ey could conceivably be in, it should not be surprising that the tracks on this album reflect the same sort of ease.

The tracks may have been recorded in 2005 and 2006, but one would not know that beyond the clarity of the tracks. Burke has went into a time machine to create a classic country style that is amenable to fans of old and new country alike. While these songs generally are older, I would like to hear what Burke would do with a wave of songs from current country stars. Would Burke be able to subjugate a Rascal Flatts or a Gretchen Wilson track to eir own nuanced musical style? The disc is full enough of tracks that individuals that want to get the entirety of Burke’s output on this album have to go for the long haul. The density of these tracks further increases the effort of one when listening to the disc; while some of the arrangements may not be at the peak of complexity, the music and vocals speaks volumes. Burke has been in the industry for over 40 years and I believe that ey has at least another 25 left in eir.

Top Tracks: Millionaire, Up The Mountain

Rating: 6.4/10

Solomon Burke – Nashville / 2006 Shout Factory / 14 Tracks / http://www.thekingsolomonburke.com / http://www.shoutfactory.com / Reviewed 22 October 2006

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