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Make Do with What You Got
     

Make Do with What You Got

by Solomon Burke
 
This soul giant -- in every sense of that word -- experienced something of a career rebirth with his last release, the covers-based Don't Give Up on Me, so it's not surprising that he'd return to that well again. What is something of a revelation, however, is how different Make Do with What You Got is from its

Overview

This soul giant -- in every sense of that word -- experienced something of a career rebirth with his last release, the covers-based Don't Give Up on Me, so it's not surprising that he'd return to that well again. What is something of a revelation, however, is how different Make Do with What You Got is from its predecessor. Much looser, bawdier even, the disc finds the singer really letting go, sweating up a storm on a rendition of the Rolling Stones' "I Got the Blues" -- a fair choice, given that band's success in covering Burke back in the day -- and dipping his hands deep into the gospel waters of Hank Williams's "Wealth Won't Save Your Soul." With classic Muscle Shoals backing -- plenty of organ and chunky guitar, the latter played by Ray Parker Junior -- songs like the Dr. John–penned title track fill the nostrils with the scent of Delta dew. That earthiness is nicely balanced by Burke's subtle handling of more introspective material, notably Bob Dylan's "What Good Am I?" As the unflagging power of this disc bears out, age hasn't diminished the titanic scope of Burke's voice. If anything, he's more in control of it at 64 than he was two decades ago, and he's doing a lot more than making do.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Mark Deming
One of the great pleasures of Solomon Burke's 2002 "comeback" album, Don't Give Up on Me (Burke never really went away, but this time around folks were paying attention), was the fact it was so unexpected -- instead of trying to replicate the sound and feeling of the records Burke made in the 1960s, producer Joe Henry conjured up a warm but skeletal backdrop which allowed the once and future King of Rock 'n' Soul to dig into the heart of the songs (contributed by the likes of Bob Dylan, Tom Waits, and Brian Wilson) in a manner unlike anything he'd done before. Conversely, the greatest disappointment of Burke's next "big-league" album, 2005's Make Do With What You Got, is that it sounds almost exactly the way you'd expect it to. The spare approach of Don't Give Up on Me has been abandoned in favor of a high-gloss production from Don Was, and Was has set up a bombastic soul session replete with horns, massed keyboards, and big vocal choruses, but while the accompaniment is strong, professional, and occasionally even enthusiastic (where has Ray Parker, Jr. been hiding his razor-sharp guitar skills for the past two decades?), Make Do With What You Got sounds like an overly anxious attempt to re-create the sound of vintage R&B sides that gets the surfaces right but never quite captures the heart and soul of the music. Of course, Was' overly slick production and the less impressive set list does nothing to hold back Solomon Burke -- his performances are typically superb, and he gives this album enough soul power to fuel a small city for a month, even bringing chestnuts like "It Makes No Difference" and "I've Got the Blues" to vivid and passionate life that's thrilling to hear. No one can sing a song quite Solomon Burke, and that's what makes Make Do With What You Got worth a listen; unfortunately, lots of people could have produced these sessions as well if not better than Don Was, and that's this album's Achilles' heel.
Rolling Stone - David Wild
1/2 Forty-four years after he sang the yearning "Just Out of Reach," Solomon Burke sounds like a man who's right where he should be.
Entertainment Weekly - Marc Weingarten
Burke belts it out like he did for Atlantic during his '60s salad days. (A-)

Product Details

Release Date:
03/01/2005
Label:
Shout Factory
UPC:
0826663435726
catalogNumber:
34357
Rank:
222153

Tracks

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Solomon Burke   Primary Artist,Vocals
Eddie Towns   Piano
Sweet Pea Atkinson   Background Vocals
Rudy Copeland   Organ
James Gadson   Drums
Portia Griffin   Background Vocals
Darrell Leonard   Trumpet
Jamie Muhoberac   Keyboards
Ray Parker   Guitar
Tommy Sims   Electric Bass,Bass Guitar
Joe Sublett   Tenor Saxophone
Robby Turner   Pedal Steel Guitar
Monalisa Young   Background Vocals
Reggie Young   Guitar,Rhythm Guitar

Technical Credits

Solomon Burke   Composer
Bob Dylan   Composer
Mick Jagger   Composer
Robbie Robertson   Composer
Eddie Towns   Composer
Vernon Bullock   Composer
Ivy Jo Hunter   Composer
Coco Montoya   Composer
Van Morrison   Composer,Liner Notes
Jamie Muhoberac   String Arrangements
Rik Pekkonen   Engineer
Keith Richards   Composer
Dave Steen   Composer
Don Was   Producer,Audio Production
Hank Williams   Composer
Dr. John   Composer
David Egan   Composer
Jason Gossman   Engineer
Freddie Gorman   Composer
Jeff Palo   Producer
David Streja   Mixing Coordinator

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