Solomon Burke, Homeland (Bizarre Straight Records)

The best music in 20 years from the Bishop of Soul should grab the hearts and soul of America by storm. It’s got enough soul to tackle a hurricane. Solomon Burke has been a major force in keeping soul music alive throughout his whole career, beginning in his early days with Apollo records and his Atlantic heyday. The Rolling Stones have always been big fans of Solomon Burke and have covered some of his biggest hits, such as “Cry to Me,” “If You Need Me,” and “Everybody Needs Somebody to Love,” which was also the theme song to the Blues Brothers movie.

His last chart record, Electric Magnetism, and the great live double LP on Rounder sold well and gave him lots of international acclaim. This endeavor, Homeland, goes back to Burke’s roots with real undiluted soul and a little taste of blues on the side for good measure (and three songs written by Earl Thomas). It’s refreshing to have a legendary soul singer not doing rap or corny disco. There are some great ballads on the new CD that will bring out the lover in you. Strong cuts: “I Don’t Need Nobody,” a great moving track with a blues flavor; “Love Ain’t No Easy Place To Be,” a superb ballad. Turn out the lights, put the CD in your player, and I’ll see ya later.