Aretha Franklin – Aretha

This Speakers Corner production was made using 100% pure analog master tape and mastering. All licenses and GEMA fees have been paid.

Recording: August, November and December 1960, January 1961 at Columbia Recording Studios, New York Production: John H. Hammond

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Aretha Franklin (voc); Quentin Jackson, Tyree Glenn (tb); Al Sears (ts); Ray Bryant (p); Lord Westbrook, Skeeter Best (g); Milt Hinton, Bill Lee (b); Belton Evans, Sticks Evans, Osie Johnson (dr)

as is well known, early bonds are not always fortunate, and so it’s no secret that Aretha Franklin’s collaboration with Columbia producer John H. Hammond didn’t last long. Hammond’s later attempts to candiate Franklin’s unbridled natural voice with sugary arrangements and studio gimmicks met with only divided approval from the public.

On Columbia’s first Franklin disc, however, silvery true honeymoon still shone. In the well-crammed mix of pop and jazz standards, the just 18-year-old super talent makes the vocal chords vibrate. Fired with youthful freshness, these standards glow so unspent and intoxicating that the question of the purity of the styles becomes a minor matter. From bobbing R&B (“Won’t Be Long”) to bell-like melodic waves (“Over The Rainbow”) to the freely designed, jazz-tuned Gershwin classic “It Aint Necessarily So,” simply anything goes.

The Ry Bryant Trio, slightly beefed up on horns, proves to be a formidable lineup for the debut, providing ever-present as well as understated accompaniment. Whoever compares Aretha Franklin’s mature acts of the following years on Atlantic (Atlantic SD7205) with these fabulous early recordings, gains the certain knowledge that the later ‘First Lady of Soul’ mastered her craft from the very beginning.

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A1 Won’t Be Long
A2 Over The Rainbow
A3 Love Is The Only Thing
A4 Sweet Lover
A5 All Night Long
A6 Who Needs You?
B1 Right Now
B2 Are You Sure
B3 Maybe I’m A Fool
B4 It Ain’t Necessarily So
B5 (Blue) By Myself
B6 Today I Sing The Blues