Reviews

THE EIGHTH PICK IN THE GREAT ALBUM GAME

All hail the Queen, long may her voice reign.

Her daddy was C.L. Franklin, a minister at New Bethel Baptist Church in Detroit. He was a famous preacher man, check out some of his preachings on YouTube and you’ll get an idea of the pipes he had. But his daughter Aretha, well, she was something else. When she sang in the choir, angels sat, their jaws dropped, and listened in wonder.

She pursued a life of secular recording at age 18 with Columbia Records and did what the engineers told her to do. She had some success but was hardly a star.

Five years later, when her contract expired, Aretha switched labels to Atlantic Records. She went to Muscle Shoals, Alabama, and began recording with its legendary studio musicians. Aretha started doing her own musical arrangements, giving songs her vision and voice, and bada bing, the angels they shat themselves. The Queen of Soul was born and she would reign for another five decades.

This album has some prime Aretha–– Respect (she put Otis Redding’s version up on the rack and re-builds it for power and a feminism anthem), I Never Loved A Man (The Way I Love You), Soul Serenade, Baby, Baby, Baby, Save Me, Do Right Woman, Do Right Man, and Dr. Feelgood (Love Is Serious Business).

When Aretha covered any song, she made it hers and owned it. Gershwin, The Beatles, Simon & Garfunkel, Johnny Mercer and Hoagy Carmichael, Bernstein and Sondheim, The Rolling Stones, Carole King, hell, and even Question Mark And The Mysterians.

You can pretty much dive anywhere into her catalog and get lost. The woman expressed emotion like a raw nerve with pipes of gold. She was a songwriter, pianist, actress, feminist, and civil rights activist.

The world lost a queen last year, but her voice will live on for the ages.