Solomon Burke was country when country wasn’t cool, recording some R&B hits in the Sixties with one foot in Nashville, Tenn. Now he’s gone whole hog, recording an entire album at guitarist Buddy Miller’s home in Music City. Predictably, there are a lot of unnecessary duets on the disc, but none are obnoxious, as Burke isn’t serving up old warhorses.
Dolly Parton surprisingly fares best with Burke on her own “Tomorrow Is Forever.” Gillian Welch is almost nonexistent on “Valley of Tears,” and even duet queen Emmylou Harris seems a little out of her element, as do Patty Griffin and Patty Loveless.
But the king of rock ‘n’ soul really doesn’t need duet partners. With a voice (and body) as big as a house, and these spare, mostly acoustic arrangements with an excellent group of pickers’ including Sam Bush and Al Perkins’ further embellishment is superfluous.
– Tory Troutman