Peter Guralnick to speak at Solomon Burke film screening

Photo Credit: Scott Billington

A documentary about soul singer Solomon Burke will be screened at the Country Music Hall of Fame Saturday, Feb. 9, with remarks by Peter Guralnick, a Vanderbilt University writer-in-residence.

Solomon Burke: Everybody Needs Somebody to Love will be shown at 1:30 p.m. followed by Guralnick’s talk.

Guralnick, a noted author who has written extensively about American roots music, was a consultant and one of those interviewed for the film. His book Sweet Soul Music: Rhythm and Blues and the Southern Dream of Freedom was inspired by and dedicated to Burke, who died in 2010.

Photo Credit: Steve Green

“Solomon was, without question, the greatest singer of any kind that I’ve ever seen and one of the most inventive showmen,” Guralnick said. “In addition, he was one of the most brilliant, profound and funniest people I’ve ever met, onstage or off – which tended to cost him in the pulpit.” Burke, who was widely known as the “King of Rock ‘n’ Soul,” also happened to be a bishop in his grandmother’s church.

Otis Redding, Joe Tex and many other soul singers were influenced by Burke, but he also sang country songs his whole life. His last major album was titled Nashville.

Guralnick, who is among the faculty in the Vanderbilt English Department’s Creative Writing Program, is working on a biography of American musical figure Sam Phillips.

The screening, made possible by IronMountain Film and Sound Archives, is free and open to the public.