Aretha + Dusty: Face Off

Aretha Franklin: I Can’t Wait (Until I See My Baby’s Face)
From Runnin Out of Fools (Columbia, 1964)

Dusty Springfield: I Can’t Wait (Until I See My Baby’s Face)
From Where Am I Going? (Philips, 1967)

First off, thanks to Hua for introducing me to Sonji Clay’s version of the song (which started the ball rolling on all this).

Far as I can tell, “I Can’t Wait” was originally a song written for Aretha Franklin recorded first by Baby Washington and then covered by Aretha back during her Columbia years. It appeared on Runnin Out of Fools but also became a highly sought-after 7″ single (with the infamous “One Step Ahead” on the flip). Strangely though (especially given how many times the song’s been covered), it doesn’t seem to have ended up on any Aretha CD. Curious if there’s a reason for that, especially given 1) how great the song is and 2) the surge in interest in Aretha’s Columbia catalog over the last few years. (SSV3 to fix that situation? We’ll see). What I love about this song is that vocal arrangement – it peaks and swerves unexpectedly. In fact, I was so taken with it, I didn’t actually even listen to what the lyrics were saying. I thought this was a love song vs. a break-up song. Oops.

Apparently, the song wasn’t a big hit for her but it ended up becoming popular in other people’s hands, ended up covered by Justine “Baby” Washington, Sonji Clay, Dionne Warwick, Dee Dee Warwick, etc. The Sonji Clay is excellent but so is the Dusty Springfield version above, originally only available on the UK release, Where Am I Going? (the U.S. “version” of that album, the best-selling Look of Love, left it off). Personally, I’d love to hear a collection of songs sung by both Aretha and Dusty…Springfield does a great job with this; she has such a fantastic sounding voice that isn’t big on power but the subtle finesse and sultriness is what sells it.

(Thanks to Soulstrut for the Aretha soundfile).