A Favourite Recording: “None of Use Are Free” by Solomon Burke

I’ve recently been asked to work some part-time shifts at Highlife Records – a 30-years-strong boutique record store in Vancouver.

On my shift last Sunday, I decided to play a couple of records that were in high rotation back when I was a regular employee in the early 2000’s.

The first was Ben Harper & The Blind Boys of Alabama’s beautiful album: “There Will Be a Light” (Harper’s shop).

 

 

Don't_Give_Up_on_MeThat led me to Solomon Burke’s “Don’t Give Up on Me” (Wikipedia), and the song “None of Us Are Free”. I find that song extra special. The character of his voice, the range of expressiveness he displays, the complement of the Blind Boys, the organ swooshes, the acoustic guitar riff, the drumming….

Furthermore, the mix of the recording.

This led me to Producer Joe Henry’s site and his touching account of Solomon Burke’s funeral in 2010:

There was just me and King Solomon, flying along the freeway, while inside my car Solomon himself continued to rant and rave in song: “More real than this!!”

While I work on my mixes on studio monitors, and test them in a car stereos, another significant testing place is the stereo speaker system in at Highlife. There’s something special in those old speakers. “None of Us Are Free” sounds amazing at the store.

After cranking it, I tried out a mix of a new song I’m working on which I thought was starting to get close.

I was humbled.

Much work to do.

Back to the mix I go, grateful for the multi-layered inspiration.