One thing that depresses me about the millennial, post-OiNK era is that in all the focus on EXCLUSIVE DOWNLOADS and BEST OF ’07 (ironically: look for our lists real soon, fellas), it seems like there’s little to no discussion of music released before last week. One of my favorite features on Cokemachineglow was the now-defunct “Old Favorites” section, where we wrote about our favorite records – I did a few, including a piece on Jon Brion/Jim O’Rourke’s early-decade classics – but outside of backward-looking blogs like Aquarium Drunkard and The Rising Storm, it’s hard to find people online talking about say, the Dismemberment Plan. Or Aretha Franklin. So, we’re going to step things up around the Rawkblog. Amy Winehouse fans, take note!
Presumably, your knowledge of Aretha – like mine, until hearing this record last week – is limited to “Respect” and the scattered singles that K-EARTH seems to have on loop. But she’s not called the Queen of Soul for nothing, and 1967’s I Never Loved a Man the Way I Love You is a seriously great album. Aretha’s vocal theatrics (or non-theatrics, really – modern R&B stars would do well to learn from her underrated subtlety) are fantastic, obviously, but I find myself listening even more carefully to her backing band. The arrangements are spare and jazzy, without Motown’s drive or Phil Spector’s room-filling sound, but that only serves to highlight a set of rock-solid performances. On the not-often-enough occasions the backing singers get to show off, they deliver gorgeous blues chords that support Aretha like a TempurPedic mattress. Queen-size, of course.
Aretha Franklin – “I Never Loved a Man (The Way I Love You)”: mp3
New stuff all sounding the same? Click below for more Old Music.