THE BARGAIN BUY: Aretha Franklin; The Original Album Series (Rhino)

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Aretha Franklin: A Change is Gonna Come
THE BARGAIN BUY: Aretha Franklin; The Original Album Series (Rhino)

It's widely acknowledged that Columbia really didn't know what to do with the young Aretha Franklin -- although it is a convenient myth that she didn't record much for them worth hearing.

But it is certainly true that when she moved to Atlantic in '66 at age 24 and came under the tutelage of Jerry Wexler she found her voice as the finest female soul singer of her generation.

Her first single for the label was I Never Loved A Man (The Way I Loved You) and it bridged blues and gospel. The flipside was the equally remarkable Do Right Woman-Do Right Man written by Dan Penn and Chips Moman.

Both of these appeared on her first Atlantic album I Never Loved A Man of '67, alongside classic soul songs Respect, Don't Let Me Lose This Dream, Dr Feelgood (not as ruined by American Idol contenders), and Sam Cooke's Good Time and A Change is Gonna Come.

It was, and remains, a remarkable album. aretha1

It is the first in this colection of five of her early Atlantic albums which are filled with distilled genius: Lady Soul of '68 (which includes Chain of Fools, People Get Ready, You Make Me Feel Like a Natural Woman and Since You've Been Gone); Aretha Now also in '68 (Think, I Say a Little Prayer, Night Time is the Right Time); Spirit in the Dark from '70 (her great Don't Play That Song, the title track, Honest I Do, Why I Sing the Blues) and Live at Fillmore West in '71 (her hits and Eleanor Rigby and Stephen Stills' Love the One You're With).

Aretha brought sexual need and hurt to songs which were soulful and deep, often produced by Wexler with arrangements by Tom Dowd and Arif Mardin, and were recorded in Muscle Shoals with their fabulous horn players, and with guests like Eric Clapton and the Sweet Inspirations.

Aretha could also rock it out too, and call down the spirit. 

These days the world is full of faux-soul shouters but Aretha wasn't called Soul Sister Number One and then the Queen of Soul for nothing.

Here is the evidence. JB_HZ_CHEAP_long

Check out her Live in Paris from these years too.

But these five CDs (no flash remastering, no extra tracks or essays etc -- just the real thing) should be in any collection. And the set is only $20 from JB Hi-Fi stores here.  

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Clive - Jul 30, 2011

These are a great series.With Aretha all you could get were best offs and we had no idea what else she did.This collection contains effectively new Aretha from 40 odd years ago with great guests such as EC on the "Lady Soul" album(currently reading his bio).The music rocks out in a soul manner and for $20,man it should be in everyones collection as should be the other soulsters in this series of Wilson Picket,Otis and Ben E King.Then check out JJ Geils Band for great blues rock on their first five albums.Thanks Graham for pointing me to the sexy Margie Joseph and finally it would be great if Rhino could do the same for the late great Freddy Fender

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