Wednesday, August 31, 2011

King Solomon's Strong Urban Blues

Born King Sylvester Lee Melicious Solomon in Louisiana in 1934, King Solomon began singing gospel with the Dixie Hummingbirds being favorites. Moving to Chicago he started his career as a blues singer there, before relocating to LA in the mid-fifties assimilating the urban blues and jazz there into his style that had germinated in Chicago.

King Solomon made the music world take notice with his gripping performance on two-part Non Support Blues which opens up with the police breaking down his doors to arrest him. This is the opening track on a Night Train International retrospective of his small label recordings, You Ain't Nothing But a Teenager. The 24 selections are Solomon originals, including other topical, real-life songs like Energy Crisis and Politician Rag. There are also strong urban blues like Separation Blues. The title track borrows the melody from Hound Dog, while Don’t Play That Song is not the R&B classic associated with Chuck Jackson and Aretha Franklin. It is a slow blues patterned after The Things I Used to Do.

He’s not about to ignore dance grooves as his track, The Moon Walk shows. While this cd does not include anything from his days with Kent Records, it brings together some choice tracks from the sixties and seventies with backing musicians that include Maxwell Davis, Joe Kincaid and Charles Wright (prior to his Watts 103rd Street Rhythm Band). Plenty of strong urban blues that fans of Bobby Bland, Z.Z. Hill and similar acts should enjoy and strong lyrics that certainly worth some folks giving a listen to.

I wrote this review towards the end of 2005 after purchasing this CD which is still available (it is on amazon and also available from Night Train International). I am not sure if the review was previously published, but this is a gem worth seeking out.

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