"Proud Mary: The Bell Sessions" is a compilation album by the famous soul singer Solomon Burke, released in 2006. The album consists of recordings made by Burke between 1969 and 1971 when he was signed to Bell Records. This duration in Burke's career is often thought about to be his least effective, due to the absence of industrial success and promo by the label. Nevertheless, the "Proud Mary" album offers an unique insight into the raw talent and soulful voice of Solomon Burke, showcasing his flexibility across numerous genres including R&B, pop, and country.
The album is named after the famous tune "Proud Mary" written by John Fogerty and initially performed by Creedence Clearwater Revival. Burke's rendition of the song reached number 45 on the Billboard R&B chart, supplying him some success with the label.
The Bell Sessions
The Bell Sessions were taped throughout a transitional duration for Solomon Burke. Having just recently left Atlantic Records, he signed with Bell Records in 1969 in the hopes of renewing his profession. This period would see him working with a new set of manufacturers and songwriters while exploring various musical styles to differing degrees of success.
The sessions produced a handful of songs, a few of which would appear on the "Proud Mary" album years later on. Burke's signature soul sound exists in these recordings, but the product likewise explores nation ballads, pop, gospel, and even an early effort at disco.
Track Listing and Highlights
"Proud Mary: The Bell Sessions" features 17 tracks, a few of which had been previously unreleased. The album opens with Burke's signature soul-stirring take on the title track, "Proud Mary". Another standout track is "He'll Have to Go", a wholehearted nation ballad that shows Burke's capability to deal with numerous categories with ease.
"What Am I Living For?", a stunning soul ballad, speaks with the vulnerability and introspective nature of Burke's artistic expression. "That's Heavy Baby" highlights his efforts to move into the funk and disco-inspired noise which would later define much of the 1970s soul music scene.
The album also includes more reflective tracks such as "Generation Of Revelations" and "Get Out Of My Life Woman". In addition, fans of Burke's gospel influences can delight in the tracks "Meet Me In Church" and "Why Do Me That Way", both of which display his deeply rooted connection to gospel music.
Legacy and Influence
While Solomon Burke's time with Bell Records may not have actually yielded the industrial success he had actually wished for, "Proud Mary: The Bell Sessions" shows Burke's dedication to his craft and his ability to adjust to different musical styles. The album stands as a testimony to the strength of his skill, and regardless of the lack of commercial recognition, it has ended up being an important part of his discography and an important listening for fans of soul music.
In a more comprehensive context, the album provides an intriguing photo of a critical time in music history, as the music industry was transitioning from the 1960s into the 1970s. Burke's exploration of numerous categories in these recordings illustrates his dedication to pushing the boundaries of soul music and his impact on what would later become the signature sound of the 1970s.
In conclusion, the "Proud Mary" album stands as a covert gem within Solomon Burke's profession. It provides a distinct look into the artist's journey through various musical genres and consists of some effective, soulful efficiencies which highlight his indisputable skill. For fans of Solomon Burke and soul music in general, "Proud Mary: The Bell Sessions" is a necessary addition to any collection.
Artist: Solomon Burke
Solomon Burke, King of Rock and Soul, born in Philly in 1940. Discover his pioneering contributions, memorable quotes & timeless hits.
More about Solomon Burke