Aretha Franklin

Under Her Spell

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No mere 14-track compilation is enough to contain all of Aretha Franklin's most indispensable recordings, but the Starbucks-produced Under Her Spell is an otherwise serviceable overview of the singer's classic Atlantic sides, compiling most of her biggest and most influential hits. The key word in that previous sentence is "most" -- Under Her Spell does not include Aretha's signature "Respect," which could be a huge stumbling block for the Starbucks customer who doesn't already have the song on umpteen other discs. But the inclusion of radio staples "Chain of Fools," "I Never Loved a Man the Way I Love You," and "(You Make Me Feel Like A) Natural Woman" should fulfill the quota of your average listener, not to mention that audiences familiar with only the hits will find much more to savor here -- lesser-known efforts like "Soul Serenade" and "Spirit in the Dark" glitter just as brightly as the other jewels in the Queen of Soul's crown. A solid introductory course, complete with excellent sound and deluxe packaging.

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