Solomon Burke & Benny Lattimore | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Solomon Burke & Benny Lattimore 

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Solomon Burke is that rare "living legend" whose talent more than justifies his myth. Everything about Burke--his flamboyant onstage manner, his overwhelming physical presence--is larger than life. Burke was crowned "King of Rock 'n' Soul" by Baltimore DJ Rockin' Robin in 1964, and since then he's seldom appeared without the trappings of royalty--crown, flowing robe, adoring entourage, and regal bearing. His talent is as outsized as everything else about him; an evening in the presence of his remarkable persona and his subtly textured voice, alternating between gospel intensity and deep, chocolate-rich vibrato, is one of the most unforgettable experiences in R & B. Benny Lattimore, the master of steamy male sensitivity, isn't half the singer Burke is, but his show--sage observations on romantic loyalty, seductive testimonials to tenderness culinating in his lovely trademark "Let's Straighten It Out"--is irresistible in its calculated sincerity. And if his paint-peeling rendition of "Slow Down (But Don't Stop)" could be bottled and sold, it'd put the nation's sex therapists out of business overnight. Saturday, 9 PM and 12:30 AM, East of the Ryan, 914 E. 79th; 874-1500.

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