Solomon King review…February 20, 2014…




Bluesman Solomon King has seen the ups and downs of life, and has stared them down and kept on strokin’.  Hailing from Detroit, he was a victim of massive downsizing in the auto industry in his hometown, and, in 2008, he moved to Los Angeles to make his name as a bluesman.  He set up residence, if you will, in the rough-and-tumble South Central district, in clubs such as Babe And Ricky’s.

Over the course of the nine cuts that comprise Solomon’s latest release, “Train,’ he has channeled the energy of those South Central days into a set that listeners will note no two cuts are the same, and they all tell a story from the soul of a man who’s stood tall thru tough times.

The majority of the songs deal with life, love, loss, and redemption, told in a way only Solomon could tell.  He starts off with his slide wailing in the Diddley-shuffle of “Baby Done Me Good.”  He revisits his gritty South Central days with the scorching funk of “Bad To Me,” and again with the thundering tones of the title cut.  With its locomotive percussion, psychedelic vocals and organ, this one definitely has a Doors-like vibe goin’ on.

Solomon finds redemption, tho, with his proclamation that he’d gladly trade in all his worldly possessions for “My Baby’s Love,” and closes the set by declaring his very existence being due to the love of his “Blue Angel.”

We had two favorites, too.   A cold-hearted woman who is “made of stone” is the subject of “Great Wall,” and it’s a barn-burner, set over a traditional Delta arrangement with cool harp set over Solomon’s Elmore James-styled licks.  And, he takes a good-natured jab at the boys down on Music Row with “them songs you can’t forget,” that always have a “train, truck, or car,” and, ultimately, everyone’s heart gets broken, aptly-entitled “Country Song.”

Solomon King’s diversity makes “Train” a special set, indeed.  It follows pretty much the pattern of his live shows, where cover songs are rarely heard, and everything stands on its own merit.  Our only wish was that this one coulda been about twice as long!!  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow.

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