The Checkers record label recorded Aretha Franklin in 1956 (she was then only 14-years-old) doing live versions of straight gospel standards, including the jaw-dropping "Precious Lord," which introduced this truly amazing voice to the world. The sides were later leased to Chess Records and they make up the eight tracks on this brief collection. These are not the Muscle Shoals material produced by Jerry Wexler ("Respect," etc.) with which most people are familiar, but they do show that Franklin's immense vocal skills were with her even as a teenager. The arrangements are sparse, with simple piano or organ framing the vocals.
Hall of Fame Review
by Steve Leggett