Soul titan Solomon Burke updates his roots with fresh and meaty authenticity on his follow-up to 2002's Grammy-winning comeback LP Don't Give Up on Me. Unlike Don't, however, this hearty disc stresses Burke's exceptional voice, a blend of grit and velvet that animates tunes spanning Dylan's "What Good Am I?", Dr. John's power-reggae title track, and "Fading Footsteps," Louisiana songwriter David Egan's surreal exploration of being an outsider.
Lovingly produced by Don Was, Make Do seems conventional at first, particularly compared to its lean, songwriter-heavy predecessor. But further listening reveals the idiosyncrasies at the heart of Burke's style, like the way he toys with blues convention in his improvised asides on the Stones' "I Got the Blues."
Was highlights -- but never upstages -- Burke's voice in arrangements replete with Memphis-styled horns and Sweet Inspirations-worthy backup vocals. Burke sounds comfortable and authoritative here. His voice remains extraordinarily effortless, his conviction indisputable.