nothing more to say – Honey Cone, 1970

I considered debuting my return after a hiatus with a gospel song that drives at the heart of the soul genre, but I will save that for a later chapter, and instead, fast forward to the modern era. It’s wonderful to see modern takes of old school songs, especially when they’re done well, and especially if…

memories / of days that I once knew – Aretha Franklin, 1970

I often wonder what differentiates the good songs from the great. I imagine what accounts for greater notoriety is an essence that reaches the hearts of many over the few. I have also wondered if “good” music has inherent and timeless qualities, or always changes, subject to the zeitgeist and whims of human arbitrariness (read: a…

fun fact!

When Jerry Wexler of Atlantic Records first stumbled on Aretha Franklin, he knew Franklin would have the best chance of producing hits down south with his partner at Stax. He called Jim Stewart in Memphis and asked him if he would take Franklin’s contract. Jim Stewart, then busy trying to maintain a quickly growing label with…

ain’t gonna do you wrong – Aretha Franklin, 1967

Singers have been “covering” other singers’ songs for generations now. A cover song, or often colloquially just simply, “cover,” is a song that has already been released by a different artist, but has been renewed and reinvented by a different artist — or, “covered.” Historically and practically, cover songs offer practice and inspiration to developing artists, while, at best, they…

fun fact!

Growing up, Aretha Franklin quickly befriended — and admired — another soul singer whose steps she would follow away from gospel and toward pop. His name was Sam Cooke.

without a word of warning – Aretha Franklin, 1960

Aretha Franklin is a nearly incomparable tour de force in the world of popular music. Her strength, versatility, and musicality remain a gold standard for female vocalists, especially in the world of R&B and jazz and soul. Contemporary artists like Alicia Keys, Adele, and even the late great Whitney Houston all can give a nod…