Fast Train (2002)

Solomon Burke

Don't Give Up On Me
Air your thoughts on this DNA Source Song™ or suggest another worthy of the designation at Rock Populi.

Back behind the 30th Street Station lies West Philly, once home to a neighborhood called “Black Bottom,” since displaced by the University of Pennsylvania and various medical and other quasi-public buildings. Until Black Bottom was demolished in the 1960s in the destructive movement known as urban renewal, it was a poor, but stable, racially mixed neighborhood.

Into that neighborhood was born Solomon Burke – “King Solomon” – a potent, under-appreciated soul singer who rivals the best of the best. He takes no back seat to Otis Redding, Aretha Franklin, Marvin Gaye, or even James Brown. Burke is complete, deep, and sings sweet as a day in heaven and pained as a night in hell.

Like many successful recording artists, King Solomon moved on from his preaching, shouting, mourning vocals in street corner “people’s churches” in Black Bottom. He found moderate to high recognition and made a life for himself in recording away from Philadelphia.

But those roots were his strength and his glory. “Fast Train” was written by Van Morrison and issued on his album Down The Road. Burke makes it rumble down the tracks on the edge of Blues, Rock and Folk.

It’s hard to take a Van Morrison song and make it better. Burke does it in spades. And that’s going some distance.

Oh going nowhere, except on a fast train
Oh trying to get away from the past
Oh keep on moving keep on moving on a fast train
Going nowhere, across the desert sand
Through the barren waste
On a fast train going nowhere
On a fast train going nowhere