Aretha Franklin: From The Vaults

Aretha Franklin: I Never Loved a Man (The Way I Love You) (Demo) (snippet) + Mr. Big
Both from Rare And Unreleased Recordings From The Golden Reign Of The Queen Of Soul (Rhino/Atlantic, 2007)

Bonus: Aretha Franklin: I Never Loved a Man (The Way I Love You)
From I Never Loved a Man The Way I Love You (Atlantic, 1967)

Aretha never seems to be far from my mind. I’m in the middle of a big web-project about her music that I’ll post a link to once I get the chance but in the meantime, the kind folks at Rhino offered to sponsor a giveaway of new copies of this anthology of rare and previously unreleased songs by her.

It’s a rather extraordinary CD given that – at this point in time – who knew there was still unreleased material to hear from Aretha? She’s only one of the biggest acts in pop music of the last 50 years so you wouldn’t think there’d be a ton of stuff left unmined but some of the songs on here are truly mind-blowing as acts of recovery.

Big among those are three demo songs that were sent to Atlantic’s Jerry Wexler that eventually lead her to the label and among these, it’s an amazing artifact of history to hear the original version of “I Never Loved a Man,” given that it was this song that effectively launched Aretha’s massive career (despite her copious recordings for Columbia in the early 1960s). I included the actual, eventual studio version of the same song to offer a compare/contrast moment (ha – which version flipped it better?) Seriously though, to be able to hear the demo is a revelation in many ways, especially in hearing what the Muscle Shoals rhythm section and Jerry Wexler add to the song but also what Aretha had to bring to it all along.

“Mr. Big” is an outtake track that never made the Aretha Now album – a slow, slightly funky cut that I can only assume was meant to be a follow-up song on Jean Knight’s classic “Mr. Big Stuff.” Would have loved to see this song actually make it out but hey, better late than…

Listen to other tracks off the album.

For the giveaway: send an email to: Subject = “aretha giveway”.
Please include your mailing address in the email.

No trivia questions this time – I’ll just select five winners from the total number of entries.