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Solomon King "Medicine"
A Hauntingly Exquisite interpretation of the Blues is perhaps the best way I can describe Solomons King's brilliant new release, "Medicine". With a voice that sounds like a cross between Mark Knopfler and Johnny Cash, GRAMMY® Nominated Blues artist Solomon King has released one of the better Albums yet in 2011.
"Medicine" consists of 10 tracks, 8 of which are originals with music and lyrics written by Solomon King. The 2 covers chosen for "Medicine" were "Little Wheel" (John Lee Hooker/J. Bracken) and "Be My Baby". "Be My Baby" is a 1963 single written by Phil Spector, Jeff Barry, and Ellie Greenwich, performed by The Ronettes and produced by Spector. In her autobiography, lead vocalist Ronnie Spector relates that she was on tour with Joey Dee and the Starlighters when "Be My Baby" was introduced by Dick Clark on American Bandstand as the "Record of the Century."
Living up to the description as "stripped down Blues, back to its naked essence", the majority of "Medicine", is truly that, with just Solomon King doing, Guitar and Vocals, and Don Heffington on Drums. The only other performers on "Medicine" were Pablo Alemann (percussion) and Sebastion Steinberg (Bass), both on only the one track called "Trouble". Recording this album, in such a manner truly brought the vocals of Solomon King to the forefront and in essence was able to give the listener a true sense of lyrical intimacy, something which right away caught my attention with it's rawness and uniqueness. I would have to go back to the first part of 2010 to a performer by the name of Guthrie Kennard to have previously been so impressed with the vocals of an artist.
The music on "Medicine" is as raw as it's delivery. It is not overly uplifting, yet it is totally addictive in nature. I guess you could say that "Medicine" is like taking an aspirin for a bad headache, in the sense that it doesn't cure it, but it sure makes you feel a little better tell it goes away on it's own.
Solomon King is no stranger to international accolades and attention as two of his songs from his debut album (Under the Sun) "were featured on two episodes of HBO's Golden Globe winning “True Blood”, a T.V. series about Vampires for which Solomon's style of music fit in perfectly. Solomon King's GRAMMY® entrant nomination was for his debut album in the category of Best Contemporary Blues Album. "Medicine", which is his follow up album to "Under the Sun" is certainly poised to once again garner an intense amount of accolades, and perhaps this time, an actual GRAMMY®.
As far as my favorite tracks on "Medicine" go, I would have to say the title track "Medicine", "Little Wheel", and "Be My Baby", ranked up there pretty high with my absolute favorite being "Closer". In fact thinking of "Closer" still brings a little chill up my spine. A wonderful song, with just the right amount of everything in it.
"Medicine" wasted no time at all becoming one of my more favorite albums so far for 2011. It uniqueness, rawness, and simplicity, quickly grabbed my attention and I was able to see from the get go that I was listening to something really special.
"Medicine" gets my highest rating of 5*****. Highly Recommended and Thoroughly Enjoyed. "Medicine" will certainly be one of my go to albums for some time to come.
Review by John Vermilyea (Blues Underground Network)
1. Medicine 3:37
2. Baby Does Me Good 2:49
3. Make You Mine 2:02
4. Little Wheel 2:06
5. Don't You Love Me No More 2:58
6. Closer 3:03
7. Cinnamon Rose 2:04
8. Bucket 3:31
9. Trouble 3:36
10. Be My Baby 2:57
Listen To Samples Here...