Born in West Philadelphia in 1940, Solomon Burke began preaching at his grandmother's church aged just seven. As a child he appeared on (and hosted) gospel radio shows, and travelled the south. He worked hard to support his family at an early age, and first became a father himself at age fourteen. When he was signed to Apollo Records in 1955 he had already lived a fascinating life and posessed wisdom and self-determination way beyond his years. Though he was raised on gospel, he was never adverse to any form of secular music, and released a number of low-selling R&B singles on Apollo.
In 1957 he withdrew from the record business, went to school and earned himself a doctorate in Mortuary Science, and joined the family funeral home business. During this time he got married, and was soon father to six children. He was lured back to music in 1960, when he signed with Atlantic Records, where he was to see a great deal of success over the next few years.
Apollo released this album in 1962, by which time he had already started to have hits on Atlantic. It compiled twelve songs from his years with Apollo, so some of them were six years out of date when the album was released. Together they presented a modest offering, somewhat uninspired in arrangements but showcasing the range and variety in Burke's voice even at this young age. It is with the few moments when the raw gospel stylings of his voice show through that the promise of great things to come becomes clear.
|> If You Need Me (1963)
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