post-template-default,single,single-post,postid-15414,single-format-standard,ajax_fade,page_not_loaded,,side_menu_slide_from_right,qode-child-theme-ver-1.0.0,qode-theme-ver-16.8,qode-theme-bridge,disabled_footer_top,qode_header_in_grid,wpb-js-composer js-comp-ver-5.5.2,vc_responsive



What distinguished Aretha Franklin (March 25, 1942 – August 16, 2018) from other female singers was, above all, the sheer power of her voice – its high belting chest register pushed into the soprano range without the operatic tonal roundness of a trained soprano extension. This is not mere technical gibberish: it defines a way of singing common to most popular vocalists in our time.
But Aretha did it better than almost anyone. And unlike some, she had an upper extension, but she used it for coloration, mostly in soft singing, not for sustained high passages or surging climaxes.

Aretha has everything — the power, the technique. She’s been hailed as the queen of soul, she’s sung jazz and the blues, but the basis of her style has been gospel music. Her roots in gospel ran extremely deep and gave her a sense of confidence. And it was the ecstatic, soaring spirit of the Baptist and Pentecostal traditions that shaped Aretha Franklin’s singing style. The very notion of a slow, teasing buildup to a delirious climax, the incessant repetition of textual and musical phrases, the flatted notes and the shivering ornamentation, the joyful choral responses – all these are integral to black gospel singing. They can be easily transferred to the secular realm, but somehow they seem especially appropriate to religious affirmations. And as a listener, you don’t have to be black or even believe in bedrock Christianity to enjoy this music: its fervor is universal.

Gospel is at the root of many African-American singers’ styles, from blues and soul shouters to opera divas. But Aretha Franklin comes by her affinities to gospel even more directly than being part of a church congregation. Her father, Reverend C. L. Franklin, was a long-time preacher and gospel singer in Detroit, as well as an early leader in the civil rights movement. Aretha and her sisters Carolyn and Erma (both of whom would also have recording careers) grew up in their father’s church.

This outstanding 51-track, 3-CD set presents all of the studio master takes Aretha Franklin recorded between 1960 (her debut dates) and 1962, as well as a rarely heard live recording from 1956 that marks the first existing testimony of her wonderful talents.

Here you will find already the definitive female soul singer of the Sixties. A diva that fused the gospel music she grew up on with the sensuality of R&B, the innovation of jazz, and the precision of pop. Here is a woman who has fulfilled every professional expectation that has been had of her since she was a teenage prodigy in her father’s choir loft; a woman for whom the word “legend” can be applied without grade inflation. And also a woman who no one can copy. Aretha is all alone in her greatness.

See More…