Lady Soul

So Aretha Franklin performed at the Ohio State Fair this past year.  I was there a couple days before hand (on the day the Beach Boys were performing), and I thought about coming back for the Aretha show.  And if I had been this far in the blog, I probably would have.  But tickets were $35, and in the aftermath of the Great Recession it’s now been at least at least five years since we had a new teaching contract.  Money’s tight, and I pretty much only go to see cheap local and indie shows these days.  And it’s a shame, cause I feel like I missed out on a little bit of history by not seeing her performance.  The local paper, the Columbus Disgrace, gave it a good review.  But I also feel like its a shame that a living legend like Aretha (and I guess the Beach Boys too, although I think it’s pretty much just the Mike Love Circus Sideshow these days) has been relegated to the state fair circuit.  It just seems like someone of her stature should be featured at a classier venue, like the Ohio or the Palace Theater.  I realize that the music business is brutal, but come on, show some respect to the woman whose monster hit was about respect.

Oh well.  So this is the second straight Aretha album on this list.  I picked it up brand new on Amazon for $1.87 (plus shipping and handling).  It was recorded a year after I Never Loved a Man, and it’s just a bit funkier and a little bit poppier, but it’s still R&B/soul at heart.  Again, she mostly sings other people’s songs, but again, it’s Aretha making the definitive version of most of these songs, such as Carole King’s “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman”.  Like the last album, Aretha plays piano and contributes to the arrangements, but this time she has little help from Bobby Womack on guitar.  Eric Clapton even plays guitar on one track, the Aretha Franklin orginal “Good to Me As I Am to You”.  Overall, it’s a nice package, and her artistry is on full display once again.

Other lists: “Chain of Fools” is #252 on Rolling Stone’s list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.  See entry #84 for Aretha’s other RS accolades.

Ch-ch-changes: This album fell one spot from its original position of #84 due to the addition of CCR’s Chronicle, the rise of Radiohead’s Kid A, and the fall of the Zombies’ Odessey and Oracle.

My favorite track: “Chain of Fools”

Honorable mention: “Niki Hoeky”

Quote: “If you had a dollar and I had a dime, I wonder, could I borrow yours as easy as you could mine?”