Aretha Franklin Next
The best reason to review the entire catalogs of various musicians, for me, is to learn something I didn’t kow before, or took for granted. I reviewed over 60 Elvis Presley albums, I consider myself a huge Presley fan but going through all the albums he released in in his lifetime I discovered I wasn’t as great a fan as I claimed. I knew the hits, and the early sun sessions and RCA albums, but many of the movie soundtracks I didn’t know as well as I might, the same as Prince in the 1990s, and a whole swath of post- Wings At The Speed Of Sound (I gave up on Paulie for awhile after that dog). By going carefully through albums, you can discover the missing links in a major musicians career.
So with Paul McCartney nearing the end (and Curtis Mayfield on standby while my co-author Tomas Doncker tours Europe), it is time for a new catalog to ransack, and the recently departed Aretha is where I am going now.
1 – She has a big catalog
2 – I don’t know her big catalog very well
3 – My opinions about the Queen Of Soul have been all over the place. In the 1990s I thought she was hugely overestimated after a couple of simply lay performances, but in the 2010s I watched her perform the single greatest concert I have ever seen, and somewhere in the past five years I cottoned onto Sparkle, and consider it one of the greatest albums of all time.
After she died I went back to her 1985 30 Greatest Hits but it wasn’t enough, despite my claim that it was. And sure, I knew some other big albums pretty well: Jump To It, Who’s Zoomin Who, A Rose Is Still A Rose -but even that is just surface. The only way to listen to one of a handful of vocalists in the conversation for the greatest singer of all time is to go back and really listen.
So that’s what I am going to do.
The problem is, she is so well known that I And on the first song, on her first album, the secular Gospelism piano pounding “Won’t Be Long,” (produced by John Hamond, yup) it has been worth it.
So, at some point, the Aretha Franklin catalog will be reviewed for your pleasure.