Solomon Burke Don't Give Up On Me

Don't Give Up On Me is another cool hybrid experiment from Fat Possum. Solomon Burke, one of the most criminally under-appreciated soul singers of the '60s, teams up with producer and singer/songwriter Joe Henry to record an album of previously unreleased songs contributed by some of Burke's most famous fans, among them Bob Dylan, Tom Waits, Elvis Costello, Nick Lowe, Van Morrison and Brian Wilson. The 11 songs that result from this collaboration are consistently impressive, and occasionally utterly stunning. In some cases, such as on the Waits contribution "Diamonds In Your Mind," it's the songwriting that stands out; in other cases, such as on the catchy "Fast Train," by Morrison, it's Burke's vocals that will command your attention; and at other points, such as on Dylan's "Stepchild," it's Henry's spare and swampy production that holds centre stage. In the album's finest moments - the gut-wrenching title track written by soul veteran Dan Penn, the devastatingly delivered "Flesh and Blood," written by Henry, and the near-perfect Costello track "The Judgement" - all of these disparate elements merge into a powerful whole. In biology, they'd call a confluence of individual strengths like this "hybrid vigour," and that's the term that jumps to mind. Well worth picking up. (Fat Possum)