Solomon Burke Willie Mitchell
" Nothing's Impossible "
E1 Music

Blueswax 8
Rating 8

Two Masters at Work, The Bishop and Willie Mitchell, (06/17/10)

I almost always welcome a new recording by the Bishop of Soul- Solomon Burke. Bishop's discography and credits are well documented; he has worked with master producers in the past, most notably the late great Jerry Wexler amongst others. For Nothing Impossible Burke enlists another grand producer (who also just recently passed on,) Willie Mitchell who is a architect of Southern Soul known best for his classic credits for the Reverend Al Green. So this new stage is set for the collaboration of two giants; Burke and Mitchell. The opening track (co-authored by Mitchell) is the lush and sensuous "Oh What a Feeling." It features an un-credited (perhaps its Solomon overdubbed) backup vocalist that works well. Burke's "Everything about You" is a thumping Blues with a smoking horn section and a gutsy sax solo by Lannie McMillan. The title track written by Mitchell has that classic Memphis Al Green-ish arrangement that works well on all levels. Burke's vocal shines and the sweet horns mesh, making this tune the rightful and appropriate title for this album.

More Blues ensue on Solomon's "You're Not Alone" in one of the least produced tracks, and that's a good thing. The band gets to workout here with a pumping bass line from Dave Smith, and a short but tasty guitar solo from Bobby Manuel. Blues with strings "The Error of My Ways" is silky smooth, where Lester Snell doubles on organ and piano. Note the temperature rising when Lannie McMillan steps up with a surly sax solo, and, oh, yes, The Bishop is definitely at home with the Blues here, too. The closing "I'm Leavin'" is also co-authored by Willie, and its all soul with smart horns, another fine sax solo from McMillan that dots the I's, and crosses the T's on this soul-Blues recording.

This is not a true Blues recording, but none of us would have expected that from Solomon and Willie. Three Blues tunes on this kind of effort is more than I expected. The collaboration (for the most part) is a success, though sadly it will be the final installment from these two musical greats. It is said that this is the final work by Willie Mitchell. An unfortunate circumstance, as another coordinated follow up to Nothing's Impossible could have been a sweet part two and another fascinating project. Yet we should cherish this passionate one-time partnership of Solomon Burke and Willie Mitchell. Amen.

Bob Putignano: