I Wish I Knew

I Wish I Knew

Upon its 1968 release, Soloman Burke’s I Wish I Knew was panned for playing it safe during a time of political and cultural turmoil while his contemporaries like Sam Cooke and Ike & Tina Turner were making waves. But the album has aged quite well, starting with the opening title-track where Burke doesn’t pretend to have any of the answers that his generation longs for — instead he confesses, “I Wish I Knew” over a tight band and some stellar backing gospel singers, sounding more grounded and honest than so many others who called for revolution. He contrasts his feverish feelings in the personal and powerful “Get Out Of My Life Woman” with the more solemn and spiritual stroll of “Meet Me In Church” before delivering a subdued but simmering rendition of Jimmy Webb’s “By The Time I Get To Phoenix” where Burke never breaks his cool. And though nobody could sing “What I’d Say” like Ray Charles, Burke holds back, letting his band and backing singers shine a little more.

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