Aretha Franklin

Original Album Classics

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The Original Album Classics series by Germany’s Sony/BMG is an attempt to clear shelves of catalog titles that are lying about. That said, it inadvertently provides a great opportunity for those who have a sincere interest in an artist, have purchased a number of titles, and still has holes they want to fill in their catalog of titles. These budget-priced completely remastered collections feature full-length recordings, often with bonus tracks added. In the case of Aretha Franklin, these sides represent her entry into the world of major-label music-making with three titles. The first two, The Electrifying Aretha Franklin and The Tender, the Moving, the Swinging Aretha Franklin, are both from 1962. They are jazz titles that feature an astonishing array of players, though the singer is not yet in her mature style. The final album in the group, Soul Sister, was released after she’d made the jump to Atlantic, but had begun cutting more contemporary material for Columbia. Are these essential Aretha titles? No. Are they pleasurable and compelling to listen to, given her long, storied career? Absolutely. For the price, they are well-worth discovering by anyone who hasn’t heard them.

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