Solomon Burke

The King Live at AVO Session Basel

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Solomon Burke gives a dynamite performance on this DVD filmed in Basel, Switzerland, as part of the AVO Session Basel series. It is magnificently filmed with Burke on a throne surrounded by red roses and that voice in such great shape. "Georgia on My Mind" is a tight reading with the full band -- horns, harp, Hammond B-3 -- cooking and allowing "the king of rock 'n' soul" to put the music in a most classy setting. Solomon only gets up from his chair at the end when a stage full of musicians and fans join him for "Everybody Needs Somebody to Love" and as he walks off the stage throughout the beautiful mayhem. The 74-minute concert is everything a fan could want, and those watching the DVD will have to be content with that as the bonus tracks are all about the concert series, so don't expect an interview with the star or any other Solomon Burke-related goodies. The 18 selections begin with the band warming up on "Back at the Chicken Shack" and "The Greeting Song," both tunes sizzling while Burke, resplendent in red robe, takes the stage to work his magic. It is all accurately retained by high-quality lighting and cameras that capture the variety of musicians and their movements. "Down in the Valley" features the four-piece horn section chirping over the double keyboards, a pair of backing vocalists (Burke's offspring), and the singer's concert direction demanding the audience have a good time. The Kathleen Brennan and Tom Waits song "Diamond in Your Mind," from 2002's Don't Give Up on Me album, is highlighted on this concert taped in November 2003. There's a nice medley of "Dock of the Bay," "Fa Fa Fa," "Spanish Harlem," and "Stand by Me" with the Souls Alive orchestra providing the power. For a bit of a break "The King" introduces his children to perform some music. "The Boss with the Hot Sauce," Solomon's seventh son of 21 children, takes on "Mona Lisa" while Burke's "baby" daughter gives her best on "I Will Survive." Both performances end up as better human interest than music. When Burke rips into "Long Tall Sally" and a Little Richard medley, well, those are big shoes to fill and the indication here is something we already know, that their dad is one of a kind. A four-page booklet has the track listing along with one page of liner notes on Solomon from Matthias Muller, the president of the AVO Session, Basel.

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