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Don't Give Up on Me

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Audio CD, July 23, 2002
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Solomon Burke produced one of his best full-length album with Don't Give Up on Me. It's easy to give some credit to the album's star songwriters, who include Burke fans Tom Waits, Elvis Costello, Van Morrison, Brian Wilson, and Bob Dylan. But really it's the quality of the songs and Burke himself, one of the most versatile and charismatic singers around, that make this album so special.

The 11 songs range from the lazy, seductive plea of the title track and the gravelly gospel of "Diamond in Your Mind" to the country-soul of "Other Side of the Coin" and the civil-rights-era urgency of "None of Us Are Free." Joe Henry's production is suitably subdued, and the instrumentation--generally guitar, bass, drums, organ, and piano--is sympathetic throughout. And if you doubt that Burke is the real star in a room crowded with those folks, consider this: the two slightest tracks here were written by Wilson and Costello, while one of the best, the album-closing "Sit This One Out," was written by someone named Pick Purnell. A great album not fixed in the past or fully of this decade, Don't Give Up is a crowning achievement of an R&B pioneer who has returned to reclaim his self-bestowed title from the '60s: "The King of Rock and Soul." --Keith Moerer

1. Don't Give Up On Me (Dan Penn)
2. Fast Train (Van Morrison)
3. Diamond In Your Mind (Tom Waits)
4. Flesh And Blood (Joe Henry)
5. Soul Searchin' (Brian Wilson / Paley)
6. Only A Dream (Van Morrison)
7. The Judgment (Elvis Costello / Cait O'Riordan)
8. Stepchild (Bob Dylan)
9. The Other Side Of The Coin (Nick Lowe)
10. None Of Us Are Free (Mann & Weil / Russell)
11. Sit This One Out (Pick Purnell)

Product Details

  • Audio CD (July 23, 2002)
  • Original Release Date: 2002
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Epitaph / Ada
  • ASIN: B000068CTE
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (58 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #9,736 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

31 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Larry White on November 21, 2002
Format: Audio CD
The best male R&B album of the year has recently been released and it is not by a fresh, new voice but by this 66 year-old member of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Unless you are an R&B maven, chances are you, like us, are more familiar with Solomon Burke's name and reputation than you are with his work. He never had a Top 20 hit, thus never achieved the popularity of some of his contemporaries, say Percy Sledge or Clarence Carter. Nevertheless, when the roll of the great soul singers is called, his name is invariably among them. Burke sings with what the liner notes so accurately refer to as `passionate restraint'. Although his vocals display the same intensity as Otis Redding or Wilson Pickett, they seem much more effortless, as natural as a lion's roar. What makes this album so special and what we imagine will be the pinnacle of Burke's career is that nearly every song has been written especially for him by some of the great songwriters of our time. Dan Penn, Van Morrison, Tom Waits, Joe Henry, Brian Wilson, Elvis Costello, Bob Dylan, Nick Lowe, Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil...that's a rock & roll hall of fame right there. And Burke puts his own inimitable stamp on each. Backed by a powerhouse band including Burke's church organist Rudy Copeland and inobtrusively produced by Joe Henry, this gives the whippersnappers something to shoot for.
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31 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Omer Belsky on April 2, 2003
Format: Audio CD
On the 31st of January 2003 I went to concert that double featured a seemingly very unusual combination - The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion (a hard rock band with over-the-top Blues mannerism) and Solomon Burke, a legendary Soul singer from the 60s. I came to see Jon Spencer - but I left with memories of Solomon Burke as one of the most amazing performers I've ever encountered. The deep, rich voice, the energetic personality (even though he sat on a chair and rarely got up during the entire show!) and most of all, Burke's showmanship, the way he cast his spell on the crowd, were simply unrivaled.
This CD captures as much as possible of that magical spirit. It has Burke at his best - crispy clear, enthusiastic and focused. It has sharp, minimalist back up band (along with special guests such as 'The Blind Boys of Alabama' and Daniel Lenois). It doesn't hurt that it has some of today's finest songwriters contributing songs to it.
I find it interesting that the target audience for Burke's latest is solidly the Rock/Alternative Rock crowd. Burke, a little like Hendrix, is now firmly in the predominantly white rock camp. I suspect there is an interesting social message in that - but let us get back to the music, for it is very nearly divine.
The music rages from the brittle blues of the title track, through the folky Fast Train, ..., Jazz-Soul (Flesh and Blood) and something approaching Gospel (the sublime none of us are free).
The only weak track here is from another 60s relic, Brian Wilson's Soul Searching, which proves that not everyone has a place in the comeback market - go back to the Beach Boys Reunion tours where you belong, Brian!
Everything else varies between the very good and the sublime.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By thestaxman on August 16, 2002
Format: Audio CD
The "King of Rock & Soul" ascends his throne in all his glory with this tremendously refreshing comeback album. It's refreshing in every sense of the word. It's sound is refreshing and intimate. It's refreshing that a Soul album on a Soul artist, legendary or not, (But in particular a legendary one) is just that, soulful. Recorded live in the studio with a great cast of musicians, this album should bring deserved attention to the small Fat Possum record label in Oxford, MS. The songs on this album were all proudly contributed to Burke by some of the most respected people in the business. Van Morrison, Elvis Costello, Bob Dylan, Tom Waits, and Brian Wilson are just the most famous of the lot. Morrison's songs are two of the better ones on the album, particularly "Fast Train". Both have Morrison written all over them, and in fact, he's using them on his upcoming outing. Like Morrison, Waits's, Wilson's, and Costello's songs are also instantly recognizable as theirs. Bob Dylan submits what is probably the most generic song on the album. Another highlight is the Barry Mann/Cynthia Weil/Brenda Russell written "None Of Us Are Free". The two aforementioned titles, as well as the rest of the album, are graced by a superlative organ player in Rudy Copeland. Copeland, who is blind, is the organist at the church where Burke pastors. The title cut is written by songwriting cohorts Dan Penn and Carson Whitsett, along with Hoy Lindsey. Penn wanted to write an Otis Redding type ballad and had wanted to use the title "Don't Give Up On Me". Whitsett sat down and started laying down Otis like chord changes and the result, in my opinion, is a song that sounds like a classic '60s country Soul hit. In fact, I think it's the best true Southern Soul song written since the days of Al Geen's prime.Read more ›
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By David Kinney on August 6, 2002
Format: Audio CD
The great Atlantic R n'B producer Jerry Wexler was once asked who he thought was the greatest of all the soul giants he had worked with.He answered "Solomon Burke, with a good band". Well Solomon's got a great band working with him here. Under the spare,sympathetic production of Joe Henry,this studio outfit smoulders under the slow burn genius of Solomon Burke. I'm not much given to hyperbole, but I truly believe that this CD can stand with any of the classic Stax or Atlantic masterpieces of the 60's you'd care to name. It's just that good.Right from the git go on Dan Penn's title tune, the Reverend Burke serves notice that he has lost none,none, of his power and charisma as a song stylist. From that first organ chord you are transplanted to a better place.If anything age has improved Solomon Burkes voice.He has lost none of the gospel melisma of his youth and employs it with panache on the two Van Morrison tracks "Fast Train", and "Only A Dream".But time has added a patina of grit and gruffness that enable Solomon to tackle Tom Wait's joyous "Diamond In Your Mind" with a Louis Armstrong growl and Joe Henry's "Flesh And Blood" like an uptown bluesman in the Jimmy Witherspoon mold,while still sounding like himself.Many great songsmith's contributed to this CD,so let's blast through with some instant grades for the composers.Solomon gets an A+ for his singing. Okay.... Dan Penn (and friends) get an A for the churchy title tune. Van gets two A's for his gospel songs. Waits gets an A, he's hilarious.Brian Wilson gets a B for his Doo-Woppy "Soul Searchin".Elvis Costello gets a C- for "The Judgement" cuz there's no tune there.The Dylan song is a C but why did the producer pick it in the first place?Read more ›
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