1001 Albums: Rock ‘n Soul



Artist: Solomon Burke

Album: Rock ‘n Soul

Year: 1964

Length: 34:06

Genre: Rhythm and Blues



“And it’s hard and it’s hard, ain’t it hard
To love one that never did love you?
And it’s hard and it’s hard, ain’t it hard, great God
To love one that never will be true?”


Solomon Burke is a guy who sings songs. That he is. He sings them very well too. Good singer. Lot’s of soul in his voice. Sings with conviction and feeling. Did you know he was also considered the King of rock and soul? Well, now you do. That’s actually where the title of this album comes from, his title as King of rock and soul. Even though he sings rhythm and blues, he wanted to separate himself as much as possible from it due to his clean lifestyle that he felt just didn’t fit the vibe of the rhythm and blues life. What a cool dude. Did you know this album had seven, that’s right SEVEN, top 100 hits? Oh yeah. Amazing. Solomon Burke is really a swell guy and a swell singer too. He really is. What a nice album. Very nice.

For the most observant of you it’s pretty clear I have absolutely no idea what I’m talking about. It took me about three days to get myself to write this post because I honestly couldn’t think of anything to really say. I was hoping something, anything would come to my mind, but day 3 hit and absolutely nothing hit me. What can I really say other than those few interesting facts up there? It’s a very straight-forward rhythm and blues album. That’s pretty much it. Heck, every single song is apparently a cover, so we’re not even dealing with any originals. He basically just picked a bunch of songs and entered the studio to record them on his day off or something and popped out this record. It’s not bad, but it’s pretty damn forgettable. I can’t remember one song off this entire album. I remember really enjoying one… but I remember that feeling rather than the actual song itself. What does that say about the record?

Heck, the album cover is damn forgettably boring. What was he thinking? Look at it. It looks like it’s straight from the 30s when all they did was say what songs are on the album. Seriously, and they’re all listed next to an incredibly unflattering picture of him. He looks like he had a stroke of some sort and became a simpleton because of it. Seriously, he looks damn slow on that picture and I have the assumption that he really isn’t. Based on his singing he sounds like he’s perfectly capable of stringing coherent sentences in a very well-spoken way. So why did he choose a picture of himself that makes it look like he wears a bib so he doesn’t drool all over himself. You’re better than this Solomon. I know it. You know it.

I’ll be honest, I was also incredibly inebriated when I listened to this album. That might have played a huge factor into this. What can I say? I went out to celebrate a co-workers last day of work and had a few drinks. I was excited about listening to more albums so I popped this record onto my ipod and gave it a listen and… that’s it. I remember listening to the songs, I remember them for the most part being well done and well sung. I remember a chorus of girls backing up his vocals in a non-distracting way that actually supported his singing. I remember lyrically for the most part it was all related to love and relationships (as usual). I remember feeling happy, but that could have been the booze too.

But that’s it. Maybe the alcohol played a role in making this album forgettable, but maybe it just was… forgettable. It almost felt like they added this album onto the list just because of those facts I mentioned above. & top 100 hits is quite an achievement and he is the king of rhythm and soul, I guess they had to put the king in there somewhere. But then again, Dick Dale is the king of the surf guitar and he’s nowhere in sight on this list. What gives? Give Dick Dale the spot he deserves! He made the most famous rendition of Miserlou for god’s sake. Give the King his rightful place on the surf rock throne!

Look at me, I’m talking about a completely different artist now. But it’s hard not to when this album didn’t really give me much to talk about. Today, I was working on set for a music video. Band’s first album, can’t really talk about it or say anything specific, but the music has been stuck in my head all day and will most probably be stuck for weeks to come. It was fun and engaging and had everyone loving it from start to finish. And no it wasn’t because I heard it play 100s of times throughout the day… although, that could be why… Either way, I feel like I could write an entire post about that one song more than I can about this entire album.

Solomon, I’m sorry. You seem like an amazing person. You seem like the sweetest, nicest guy ever. You really do. I would love to get to know you and have cake and punch with you and be your friend. We could have slumber parties and whisper secrets into each other’s ears, then laugh and giggle all through the night until sunrise. If this album did anything it was make me believe that about you because you do come across as all that from you’re singing. But, I hate to say it to you and break you’re big heart… it was just plain forgettable, simple as that.

But… I was drunk… so who’s really to blame here?

Song of Choice: You Can’t Love Them All





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