ARTIST: Aretha Franklin
TITLE: I Never Loved a Man the Way I Love You
YEAR RELEASED: 1967
CHART ACTION: #2 US, #1 R&B, #36 UK
SINGLES: I Never Loved a Man (The Way I Love You) (#9 US, #1 R&B), Do Right Woman – Do Right Man (#37 R&B), Respect (#1 US, #1 R&B, #10 UK)
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: A Change Is Gonna Come
LINEUP: Aretha Franklin, King Curtis, Willie Bridges, Charles Chalmers, Tommy Cogbill, Jimmy Johnson, Melvin Lastie, Chips Moman, Dewey Oldham, Erma Franklin, Carolyn Franklin, Cissy Houston
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: One of the best soul albums, a landmark that established Franklin and the Atlantic soul sound.
SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Eleven albums into her career, onto her third record company, and third (maybe fourth) distinct style, Aretha Franklin finally has the songs, the arrangements, and the direction to harness her powers.
It’s amazing that it took this long to get her in this position, but Jerry Wexler and Tom Dowd created the canvas that Franklin could paint her masterpiece. The band, led by King Curtis, is absolutely fantastic, with many Muscle Shoals musicians helping out (the story of the recording of this album is a fantastical, wild tale that is worth seeking out). Aretha’s sisters and Cissy Houston’s backups are tremendous.
Franklin also showed that she was a songwriter, co-writing four cuts. Her interpretation of Otis Redding’s “Respect” put her on the map, but cuts like “Drown in My Own Tears”, two Sam Cooke songs and Dan Penn’s and Chips Moman’s “Do Right Woman – Do Right Man” are just as exquisite. This is soul.
NOTES & MINUTIAE: Ted White, her manager and husband, also got co-writing credit on two songs.
IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: Yes. Just a few stereo mixes.
GRADE: A+: You don’t have this album? What? Get it now!