Solomon Burke Like A Fire

Solomon Burke Like A Fire
Following the soul legend’s strong comeback with 2002’s Don’t Give Up On Me, Burke has since fully revived his trademark adeptness at interpreting a wide range of contemporary material. Although not as overtly country-themed as 2006’s Nashville, Like A Fire has a similarly laidback, sparse feel courtesy of production by super-session man Steve Jordan, and songwriting contributions from many of his heavy friends, including Eric Clapton, Ben Harper, Keb’ Mo and Jesse Harris. Burke doesn’t sound immediately comfortable within this slick, "adult alternative” setting but with his voice still in top form, he’s able to inject a sufficient amount of pure soul into material that in a lesser artist’s hands might be easily forgettable. The main unfortunate difference between Like A Fire and Burke’s other recent efforts is an obvious lack of chemistry between himself and the band, resulting in what can only be described as soul-by-the-numbers. Still, nothing can diminish Burke’s massively positive presence on songs like "Thank You” and "Understanding,” the album’s most honest moments. Like A Fire is a pleasant, feel-good accomplishment from a musical giant who’s paid his dues, but there are better places to begin exploring what got him here. (Shout! Factory)