It's all but impossible to make a bad record with Solomon Burke
; as a vocalist, the man is simply a force of nature, and all you have to do is point him in front of a microphone and let him do his stuff and you'll have something worth hearing. But coming up with accompaniment that's worthy of Burke'
s talents isn't quite as simple, and for a man who cut his teeth working with the likes of Jerry Wexler
and Bert Berns
, finding the right producer in this day and age is no simple matter. Nothing's Impossible
with another legend of Southern soul, the great producer, arranger, and songwriter Willie Mitchell
(best-known for his work with Al Green
) who had been after Burke
to make an album with him for years. One listen to Nothing's Impossible
confirms that Mitchell'
s instincts were right on the money; this music has just the right heft and texture for Burke
, rich, strong, and gospel-influenced R&B that's sturdy enough to support Burke'
s earth-shaking vocals while giving the star of the show enough room to move comfortably. Mitchell'
s subtle, expressive use of strings and horns is very much in evidence here, and the rhythm section cuts a deep, implacable groove. The church has always been one of Burke
's strongest vocal influences, and on Nothing's Impossible
and his studio crew allow Burke
to raise up as much Sunday morning fervor as he needs; on longer numbers like "Dreams" and "It Must Be Love," Burke
stretches out like a preacher hitting a groove in front of a congregation, and hearing the King of Rock and Soul get the spirit is a remarkable thing. Burke
contributed to the songwriting on these sessions, with both men bringing their A game, and though the notion of Burke
covering Anne Murray'
s hit "You Needed Me" might sound dire, once you hear him do it, it's hard not to be awestruck at the way he brings the old warhorse to life. The sad irony of Nothing's Impossible
is that after decades of trying to lure Solomon Burke
into his studio, Burke
showed up in time for what proved to be Willie Mitchell'
s final production project, as Mitchell
succumbed to heart failure a few months before the album was released. But if this record is Willie Mitchell'
s final musical offering, Solomon Burke
made certain that the man closed out his career on a high note; this is old-school R&B that's smart, passionate, and powerful, and proves the King of Rock and Soul still rules his kingdom with a sure hand.