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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Various Artist – Blues Brothers Soundtrack

bb ostI was too young to be able to reference the film when it came out in 1980 but by the mid 80’s the legacy of the Blues Brothers was still going strong ( and still is!), not only with the film which we watched on VHS (yo kids, go look that up…) but with loads of tribute bands.  It was they who introduced me to Atlantic RnB and classic soul tracks.  I think this soundtrack still holds up as a great collection of music in its own right.  The music is fantastic, particularity the horns and bass, played by some of the musicians who worked on the original tracks back in the 60’s.   Of course the supporting cast including Aretha Franklin and Ray Charles bring their great performances, but John Belushi’s vocals stand up well amongst the Kings and Queens of Blues and Soul.  A great album to start the day to!

Standout track: She Caught The Katy  – easily overlooked as the opening track.