Famous Pals Lift New Solomon Burke Album
Soul legend Solomon Burke says there's no great secret for getting major artists to write songs for his albums.Soul legend Solomon Burke says there's no great secret for getting major artists to write songs for his albums.
"You call friends and say, 'Do you have a song for Ol' Solomon Burke?' " the singer and ordained minister tells Billboard.com with a laugh. And it worked like a charm for his forthcoming "Like a Fire," due June 10 on Shout! Factory. The album features a pair of songs by Eric Clapton and contributions from Ben Harper, Keb' Mo' and Jesse Harris, as well as Steve Jordan, who also produced.
"Eric," Burke recalls, "says 'Yeah man, I got one. Lemme call you back in about three days,' and out comes 'Like a Fire.'" But "Thank You," which Burke co-wrote, was a bonus.
"He says, 'You know what, Solomon? I have an idea. I've got the music, I've got the beginning, but you've got to finish it 'cause I've got so many things going on. All I can say (lyrically) is ... 'Thank you.' And I said, 'Wow! Whoo! And we finished it off and he was so happy with it."
The Harper collaboration on "A Minute to Rest and a Second to Pray" was "a great opportunity, a great privilege and a wonderful moment in time" that came as a surprise to its writer, too.
"When they brought Ben in, that was my first time meeting him," Burke recalls. "(Executive producer) Shawn Amos said, 'We've got this great Ben Harper song. Sing the song, Ben!' Ben says, 'Man, I'm not finished yet,' but I said, 'Don't worry about it. Stay right here in the studio with me and we'll finish it. You write it, I'll sing it. Let's go...'"
Harper, Harris and Keb' Mo' all perform on their contributions to "Like a Fire." Burke, meanwhile, is cutting another version of "Thank You" for a forthcoming gospel album called "The Truth" which he promises "is gonna be the most different gospel album you've ever heard." He hopes to release it later this year.
Burke begins touring to support "Like a Fire" on May 23 in Detroit.