Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Similarly Requested CDs
The Queen in crystal clear voice, singing jazz and standards
Peace Brotha | Ohio, United States | 11/25/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Hello, all --
I'm sure many of you have heard the songs from the "Sings Standards" CD in some form or another, but this is the first time I've personally heard a few of these songs that could have easily appeared on the Verve jazz label. The Queen's voice was truly in top form during these Columbia years...and even though a couple of the songs are a little too string-laden, you won't care -- because Ree is singing them! The sound quality and production values are also top-notch.
"How Deep Is The Ocean" -- one of the best versions of this song I've ever heard, complete with a trademark Aretha "burst" of soul right before the end (not quite a squall, but it'll still give you chills!).
"Until The Real Thing Comes Along" -- Quite soulful and slightly churchy for Columbia -- I love it.
"Look For The Silver Lining" -- this is one of the cuts that some may find sappy due to the lyrics and the too-sweet string arrangement. But over the years, it's grown on me. My tastes have gotten broader as I've gotten older, too (now in my thirties).
"Exactly Like You" -- swingin' jazzy number that is 100% Aretha. Those that have heard this song will agree with me, I'm sure. I'd love for her to re-record this one, because her huskier millenium voice would work perfectly with this one!
"Where Are You?" -- very nice ballad with a melody that puts you in the mind of chillin' on a cool summer evening with your special one, despite the lyrics.
"Say It Isn't So" -- Another stunning arrangement of a song that's been covered to death, with new life breathed into it by Ree. She must have related to this one on a deeper level, because there's a thrilling squall that she carries over a few notes and words at the end of this one: I had to rewind my CD a couple times just to hear that part. Go on, baby!
"That Lucky Old Sun" -- simply outstanding.
"I Apologize" -- a very heartfelt performance by Aretha. This is subject matter we rarely hear from the Queen, and it is quite refreshing to hear this side of her revealed in a song.
"For All We Know" -- nothing that grabs you immediately here, other than Aretha's flawless melodic delivery. Her voice really has to be heard on this one.
"Moon River" -- short, swingin' and sweet, done delicately but with fire; a perfect way to close this short set of songs. Easily one of the best renditions of this song ever (of course I'm not biased!).
This is one of those CD's that is pretty inexpensive, so don't expect ANY liner notes. However, if you're missing these songs, or don't have cuts from Aretha's "quieter" Columbia years other than the ones that have been re-issued to death, I wholeheartedly recommend this album. Enjoy."
Setting The Standard
Gregor von Kallahann | 01/22/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"We all know the rap on Aretha's early Columbia recordings. John Hammond, who brought her to the label, lost out to the corporate types who wanted to turn Aretha into her generation's Ella Fitzgerald. So--we're usually informed--she wound up floundering for five or six years on that label, until at last she snagged a contract with Atlantic and found her musical and spiritual home.
I won't dispute that Atlantic did better than well by Aretha Franklin in those first few years. The results speak for themselves. You can't argue with "Respect" or "I Never Loved A Man" or "Natural Woman." On the other hand, Aretha had her floundering stretches on Atlantic as well and by the mid-70s, her albums were being given mostly perfunctory reviews and, while there were often moments of brilliance, it seemed that no one expected another LADY SOUL or I NEVER LOVED A MAN.
Aretha's career arc has seen more ups and downs than Judy Garland and Liza Minnelli on a rollercoaster. But she's always worth listening to, and these early tracks deserve a little more attention. For one thing, Aretha's voice was in its glory during these sessions. Her singing is assured, graceful and still packs an emotional wallop. Yeah, she could play with a melody in a jazz inflected Ella-like way, as she does with "Moon River" and "Exactly Like You." And where you might expect a little overkill, she proves to be remarkably restrained, as on her version of "Til the Real Thing Comes Along."
Of course, Aretha wouldn't be Aretha if she didn't soul things up a bit here and there. She throws in some soul embroidery on such standards as "How Deep Is the Ocean" and "Say It Isn't So." It's never really excessive though. The text is still respected overall--which is not always the case with soul versions of standards.
Not all these songs are as well known as they should be to today's audience. And others, like "Moon River," while admittedly something of a standard is not really Great American Songbook material. When Aretha and Co. jazz up that track, it's refreshing not irreverent. Overall she does her source material proud."
"That Lucky Ole Sun"
Oliver Penn | New York City | 05/22/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I could have done a better compilation of Aretha's Columbia stuff, but this one will do just fine. I remember when I first heard her sing "That Lucky Ole Sun." Ray Charles' version was my favorite up 'till then, but when Aretha took it straight to the church door, I flipped. She built that song to that wonderful scream (what else could she do at that point, but scream?) She built and built. The album that it's from, "The Electrifying Aretha Franklin" was never released on CD, I don't believe. And, "Little Miss Raggedy Ann" (which Aretha wrote) has never been included on any of her collections. Why? It was the B side for "Can't You Just See Me," but "Raggedy Ann" is what they played in Kansas City on the radio."