Aretha Franklin booking
Aretha Franklin is one of the giants of soul music, and indeed of American pop as
a whole. More than any other performer, she epitomized soul at its most gospelcharged. Her astonishing run of late-’60s hits with Atlantic Records–”Respect,” “I
Never Loved a Man,” “Chain of Fools,” “Baby I Love You,” “I Say a Little Prayer,”
“Think,” “The House That Jack Built,” and several others–earned her the title
“Lady Soul,” which she has worn uncontested ever since. Yet as much of an
international institution as she’s become, much of her work–outside of her
recordings for Atlantic in the late ’60s and early ’70s–is erratic and only fitfully
inspired, making discretion a necessity when collecting her records.
Franklin’s roots in gospel ran extremely deep. With her sisters Carolyn and Erma
(both of whom would also have recording careers), she sang at the Detroit church
of her father, Reverend C.L. Franklin, while growing up in the 1950s. In fact, she
made her first recordings as a gospel artist at the age of 14. It has also been
reported that Motown was interested in signing Aretha back in the days when it
was a tiny start-up. Ultimately, however, Franklin ended up with Columbia, to
which she was signed by the renowned talent scout John Hammond.
Franklin would record for Columbia constantly throughout the first half of the
’60s, notching occasional R&B hits (and one Top Forty single, “Rock-a-bye Your
Baby with a Dixie Melody”), but never truly breaking out as a star. The Columbia
period continues to generate considerable controversy among critics, many of
whom feel that Aretha’s true aspirations were being blunted by pop-oriented
material and production. In fact there’s a reasonable amount of fine items to be
found on the Columbia sides, including the occasional song (“Lee Cross,”
“Soulville”) where she belts out soul with real gusto. It’s undeniably true, though,
that her work at Columbia was considerably tamer than what was to follow, and
suffered in general from a lack of direction and an apparent emphasis on trying to
develop her as an all-around entertainer, rather than as an R&B/soul singer.
Price hire Aretha Franklin
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