Aretha Franklin – Young, Gifted and Black

Whenever a musical icon passes it always leaves a hole and with Aretha Franklin this is certainly no exception.  Her voice was distinctive and magical, as befits the Queen of ygbSoul.  Some artists have vowed never to sing certain songs again after Aretha performed them.  I probably heard her voice first in the Blues Brothers film revisiting 1968’s Think but soon got to know more of her musical catalogue. This album is a pretty good place to start if you haven’t heard an Aretha album. Released in 1972 and is amazingly her 20th album, winning her a Grammy.  Her vocal talent just shines here, effortlessly delivering the soul of the ballads and dropping the amazingly funky Rock Steady.  Another true talent departs but leaves behind an amazing legacy that you really should make time to explore.

Standout Track: Rock Steady

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Wolf Alice – Visions of a Life

Their name was the  first thing that attracted my attention – I love interesting band names! I’ve been meaning to mention Wolf Alice for a while after seeing them live, which wasWolf-Alice-art- totally brilliant. Ellie Rowsell is one of those performers you can’t take your eyes away from as she lets rip her dynamic vocals with the occasional lupine snarl. Their latest album rubs punk-infused ire alongside Prog-rock expansiveness. It’s one of those albums where you can just enjoy musicianship that takes you from one place to another.  Seeing them live just sealed it for me and they are now one of my favourite bands. This year also sees them nominated for a well deserved Mercury Music Prize. I am now getting into the deluxe version of their first album My Love is Cool but Visions is a brilliant album and if you can catch them live then go!

Standout track : Beautifully Unconventional