1968, Music

Lady Soul (1968) by Aretha Franklin

Aretha Franklin’s fourteenth studio album could have almost tricked me into believing it was a Greatest Hits/Best Of album focused on a particular era of her career, except for the fact it is missing “Respect” and a few other songs.

Because not only are there a couple of really famous songs here (“Chain of Fools” and “A Natural Woman”) but the remaining tracks are strong enough that I could have been convinced they were hit songs for her. (It helps that two of her covers are very famous in their own right, and her versions are arguably as good or superior to the originals.)

I’ve never listened to an Aretha album and I must say that I’m kind of blown away. I knew she could sing but the performances are uniformly great. The material is better than your average soul album and the arrangements are not over-done, as I was assuming they would be. (There are often lots of instruments but they are mixed better than on some soul records from this era; Aretha is the star.)

I know this is considered by some to be her best record, so it might be all downhill for me from now on, but it sure does make me want to listen to other records of hers.

9/10

  1.  “Chain of Fools” (Don Covay) 2:46
    • Recorded on June 23, 1967
    • Aretha Franklin – lead vocals and piano;
    • Jimmy Johnson and Joe South – guitars;
    • Spooner Oldham – electric piano;
    • Tommy Cogbill – bass;
    • Roger Hawkins – drums;
    • The Sweet Inspirations, Carolyn Franklin, Erma Franklin & Ellie Greenwich – background vocals
  2. “Money Won’t Change You” (James Brown, Nat Jones) 2:09
  3. “People Get Ready” (Curtis Mayfield) 3:42
    • Recorded on December 19 and 20, 1967
    • Aretha Franklin – lead vocals and piano;
    • Bobby Womack – guitar;
    • Spooner Oldham – organ;
    • Tommy Cogbill – bass;
    • Roger Hawkins – drums;
    • Melvin Lastie, Joe Newman, Bernie Glow – trumpets;
    • Tony Studd – bass trombone;
    • King Curtis, Seldon Powell, Frank Wess – tenor saxophones;
    • Frank Wess – flute;
    • Haywood Henry – baritone saxophone;
    • Carolyn Franklin & The Sweet Inspirations – background vocals;
    • horn arrangement: Arif Mardin
  4. “Niki Hoeky” (Jim Ford, Lolly Vegas, Pat Vegas) 2:31
  5. “(You Make Me Feel Like) a Natural Woman” (Gerry Goffin, Carole King, Jerry Wexler) 2:44
    • Recorded on February 16, 1967
    • Aretha Franklin – lead vocals;
    • Spooner Oldham – piano;
    • Tommy Cogbill – bass;
    • Gene Chrisman – drums;
    • The Sweet Inspirations, Carolyn & Erma Franklin – background vocals;
    • strings conducted by Ralph Burns
  6. “(Sweet Sweet Baby) Since You’ve Been Gone” (Aretha Franklin, Ted White) 2:25
    • Recorded on December 16 and 17, 1967
    • Aretha Franklin – lead vocals;
    • Jimmy Johnson and Bobby Womack – guitars;
    • Spooner Oldham – electric piano;
    • Tommy Cogbill – bass;
    • Roger Hawkins – drums;
    • Melvin Lastie, Joe Newman, Bernie Glow – trumpets;
    • Tony Studd – bass trombone;
    • King Curtis, Seldon Powell, Frank Wess – tenor saxophones;
    • Haywood Henry – baritone saxophone;
    • The Sweet Inspirations, Carolyn & Erma Franklin – background vocals;
    • horn arrangement: Arif Mardin
  7. “Good to Me As I Am to You” (Aretha Franklin, Ted White) 3:56
    • Recorded on December 16 and 17, 1967
    • Aretha Franklin – vocals and piano;
    • Spooner Oldham – organ;
    • Tommy Cogbill – bass;
    • Roger Hawkins – drums;
    • Melvin Lastie, Joe Newman, Bernie Glow – trumpets;
    • Tony Studd – bass trombone;
    • King Curtis, Seldon Powell, Frank Wess – tenor saxophones;
    • Frank Wess – flute; Haywood Henry – baritone saxophone.
    • Eric Clapton – guitar obbligato.
  8. “Come Back Baby” (Walter Davis) 2:25
    • Recorded on December 19 and 20, 1967
    • Aretha Franklin – lead vocals;
    • Jimmy Johnson and Bobby Womack – guitars;
    • Spooner Oldham – organ;
    • Tommy Cogbill – bass;
    • Roger Hawkins – drums;
    • Melvin Lastie, Joe Newman, Bernie Glow – trumpets;
    • Tony Studd – bass trombone;
    • King Curtis, Seldon Powell, Frank Wess – tenor saxophones;
    • Haywood Henry – baritone saxophone;
    • The Sweet Inspirations, Carolyn & Erma Franklin – background vocals;
    • horn arrangement: Arif Mardin
  9. “Groovin'” (Felix Cavaliere, Eddie Brigati) 2:57
  10. “Ain’t No Way” (Carolyn Franklin) 4:17
    • Recorded on December 19 and 20, 1967
    • Aretha Franklin – lead vocals and piano;
    • Warren Smith – vibraharp;
    • Tommy Cogbill – bass;
    • Roger Hawkins – drums;
    • Melvin Lastie, Joe Newman, Bernie Glow – trumpets;
    • Tony Studd – bass trombone;
    • King Curtis, Seldon Powell, Frank Wess – tenor saxophones;
    • Frank Wess – flute;
    • Haywood Henry – baritone saxophone;
    • Carolyn Franklin and The Sweet Inspirations – background vocals;
    • Cissy Houston – vocal obbligato;
    • string and horn arrangement: Arif Mardin

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