Category: Aretha Franklin

Aretha Franklin – Lady Soul

RTIST: Aretha Franklin                     220px-ArethaFranklinLadySoul

TITLE: Lady Soul

YEAR RELEASED: 1968

CHART ACTION: #2 US, #1 R&B, #25 UK

SINGLES: (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman (#8 US, #2 R&B, #79 UK), Chain of Fools (#2 US, #1 R&B, #37 UK), (Sweet Sweet Baby) Since You’ve Been Gone (#5 US, #1 R&B, #47 UK), Ain’t No Way (#16 US, #9 R&B)

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Covers some well known tracks too

LINEUP: Aretha Franklin, Roger Hawkins, Eric Clapton, Bobby Womack, Joe South, Jimmy Johnson, Tommy Cogbill, Spooner Oldham, King Curtis, Warren Smith, other horn players, Erma Franklin, Carolyn Franklin, Cissy Houston

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: A classic record containing crucial hits and soulful interpretations, backed by a crack band. What’s not to love?

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Featuring tracks written especially for her, some originals written by her or her sister, and some nice covers, this album burned up radio and turntables in 1968.

Two singles released in 1967 paved the way, whetting everyone’s appetite for the album. The first three singles are signature tracks for her entire career (interesting that “Natural Woman” only hit #8 since that’s such an anthem). Aretha’s depth shows while giving performances of the covers like “People Get Ready”. She puts it all in those tracks as well instead of just quickly finishing them to make the numbers.

With such a packed record, it shouldn’t be a question what grade to give it. The question should be is it better than her first Atlantic record. Hmmm….

NOTES & MINUTIAE: Carolyn Franklin wrote “Ain’t No Way”, which charted as a B-side. It’s that good.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: Yes, single mixes and a long version of “Chain of Fools”

 GRADE A+: Another classic Aretha record.

Aretha Franklin – Aretha Arrives

ARTIST: Aretha Franklin         220px-Aretha_Arrives

TITLE: Aretha Arrives

YEAR RELEASED: 1967

CHART ACTION: #5 US, #1 R&B

SINGLES: Baby I Love You (#4 US #1 R&B, #39 UK), (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction (#37 UK)

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Most all of the album are covers of known songs.

LINEUP: Aretha Franklin and session aces

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: A rushed second Atlantic album fails to capitalize on Aretha’s excellent first Atlantic soul album.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Not even allowing her to recover from an injured elbow, Atlantic put Franklin back in the studio to record a followup to her landmark soul record. The magic that was there earlier just wasn’t there.

Aretha’s in good voice, of course, but the material at times seems unsuited, or uninspired. It moved copies, but it’s not memorable. It’s just…there.

She’d rebound, of course, and become the consistent performer that we know today. Still, it Atlantic made a mistake in rushing this.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: Because of her injury she couldn’t play the piano except for the slower numbers.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No

GRADE: C: It’s not streaming by itself, but it’s really not worth the effort.

Aretha Franklin – I Never Loved a Man the Way I Love You

ARTIST: Aretha Franklin

TITLE:  I Never Loved a Man the Way I Love You aretha_franklin_-_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!