The Essential Aretha Franklin

Aretha Franklin

The Essential Aretha Franklin
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The Essential Aretha Franklin

Aretha Franklin

This two-disc, 40-track anthology collects the key tracks from Aretha Franklin’s stay with Columbia Records in the early ‘60s (1960 - 1965), and they catch the young singer and pianist in her first secular pop recordings - they’re not quite soul and they’re not gospel and most of them fall to the jazz-pop side of things.

Franklin was already too good a singer (and pianist) not to catch fire in a few of these selections, most notably “Lee Cross,” where she lets in some gospel fervor, the elegant “Trouble in Mind,” the romping “Soulville,” and an almost majestic “Try a Little Tenderness,” complete with lush strings, but the sheer emotional power of Franklin’s voice feels held in check on most of these tracks.

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