Your crusty chronicler is an individual who does his own thing. Still, when Examiner asked for support for their new “List” format, it was nigh impossible not to be open-minded about it. So, with that spirit of unity in mind, your rockin’ reviewer presents this series—“Track by Track” in which we review certain select CDs literally “track by track”.
In this edition we check out Solomon King’s ’Live On Collectors (sic) Edition. It’s a double-disc CD and DVD set. It includes the 2011 DVD I Think I Shot Her (also known as “The Phil Spector Incident”) which dramatizes the “last desperate hour” legendary songwriter and producer Phil Spector and actress Lana Clarkson spent together. It stars King and Monica Lee and has additional “behind the scenes” and bonus features to boot.
The CD is titled Live On. It includes the complete film soundtrack. The disc contains 11 cuts. Here King leads the way on guitar and lead vocals backed by additional artists on each song. (Read through the list to discover more about the music.)
“Be My Baby”
This special collector’s edition opens on the song “Be My Baby”. King is joined by Don Heffington on this unique cover of a song made famous by the girl-group The Ronettes in 1963. Fittingly, this tune was written by Phil Spector, Jeff Barry and Ellie Greenwich. (The original is considered by many critics to be “the ultimate embodiment” of Spector’s famous wall of sound production technique.) King’s cover is an apt intro to the soundtrack and features his deep, dark vocals which set the perfect mood here.
The second selection included on this soundtrack recording, “Shakedown”, is the first of the original King compositions included here. The piece is fully fleshed out with the addition of background vocals by Genevieve Wilson and noteworthy programming by Malachi Mott which adds some less common ingredients to the musical mix.
“Baby Does Me Good”
The next number is called “Baby Does Me Good”. This, too, is an original work by King (another version of which can be heard on his Train CD). Heffington returns to provide the prerequisite beat. While this one is was indeed composed by King it fits well enough that some listeners might mistake it for a cover of a Spector-related song.
“Trouble” and “Don’t You Love Me No More?”
Similar observations can be made about “Trouble”. This, too, is a King original (with Heffington on drums again) that works well as a soundtrack piece for a movie about Phil Spector. It’s got some slow, almost spooky elements to it and with lines like “You and I will never be friends so we might as well be lovers” how could it not work for this film?
“Don’t You Love Me No More?” follows. This is another track on which Solomon performs with Heffington. This is a blues-tinged track that has what it takes in terms of soundtrack music.
“My Father’s Watch”
“My Father’s Watch” comes next on this soundtrack. This is one of the few covers on the disc. It’s King’s version of a song by musician Jeff Laine. It’s a reflective piece about truth and thoughts of changing the past. King makes it his own thanks to the help of R.A. Vaughn (guitar) and Chris Julian (programming).
“Lookin’ For You”
The seventh song is titled “Lookin’ For You”. King co-composed this cut with Calista Carradine. This is perhaps one of the more moving, ambitious numbers here and includes Carradine singing lead vocals, Johann Frank on guitar, Craig Kimbrough debuting on drums, Robb Toma on bass, Teddy Andreadis on keys and Janelle Sadler and Shea Chambers singing background vocals.
“Make You Mine”
“Make You Mine” is a memorable part of this motion picture-related project. Although it’s another new King composition, it has a great familiar feel to it. It’s got an “oldies”, almost rockabilly flair to it perfect for this Spector-inspired release. Here he is joined yet again by Heffington on the drums.
“Suicide” fairly breaks out here and includes a more electric rock sound to it. This is the second selection to be co-written with Carradine. King once more brings in the tuneful troops including: Carradine (lead vocals), Frank (guitar), Kimbrough (drums), Toma (bass), Andreadis (keys) and Sadler and Chambers (background vocals).
“Under the Sun”
“Under the Sun” is another ambitious albeit lengthy track (with a running time of over six minutes). It’s a no doubt sometimes exaggerated autobiographical tune based on some good blues music. He is joined by a host of additional artists once more including—most notably—Ray Parker Jr. on guitar, Reggie McBride on bass, Ollie Brown on bass, Sylvester Rivers on keys, Jimmy Powers on harmonica and Christie Black and the returning Chambers on background vocals.
The soundtrack album’s end-note is named “Medicine” (off his album of the same name). Heffington returns one final time to back Solomon on drums. This is a surprisingly, quiet, uneventful piece that is also apropos for Phil Spector’s story but works better opening the movie than as a closing cut here. Overall though, it seems that Solomon certainly went to the “Trouble” of doing his homework here and it shows.
My name is Phoenix and . . . that’s the bottom line.