Solomon Burke

The Platinum Collection

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While gospel was a key influence for many of the great voices of '60s soul, few artists brought the spiritual and the secular together with as much skill and emotional gravity as Solomon Burke (no great surprise, given that he became a preacher later in life). However, Burke's influences went beyond gospel. He had a real gift for country influenced material, and his "Just out of Reach (Of My Two Empty Arms)" scored significant airplay on Southern C&W radio; there was plenty of raw blues in his recipe; and he had a potent sense of drama (the man's knack for a recitation was unequaled) as well as a subtle but keen wit (who else would record a dance tune called "Stupidity" and make it work?). While Burke made worthwhile records for a number of labels (and continues to do so at this writing), his strongest body of work remains his Atlantic Records sides, and Burke's installment in Warner Platinum's The Platinum Collection series features 22 songs which cover his biggest hits and most memorable album cuts. Rhino's two-disc Home in Your Heart: The Best of Solomon Burke remains the definitive overview of this phase of Burke's career, and their single-disc The Very Best of Solomon Burke includes the remarkable "Soul Meeting" (the A-side of the only single from the Soul Clan, a short-lived R&B supergroup featuring Burke, Ben E. King, Joe Tex, Don Covay and Arthur Conley), and either of those sets is slightly preferable to this one. But any CD that features Solomon Burke singing "Cry to Me," "The Price," "Everybody Needs Somebody to Love," "Got to Get You off My Mind" and "Tonight's the Night" is worth owning, and that only scratches the surface of the great music on The Platinum Collection, and it's a fine value for anyone with a taste for Southern soul.

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