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Soul '69 by Aretha Franklin
Released: Jan 1969
Label: Rhino Atlantic
This is the only Aretha album from her late-'60s Atlantic heyday with no hit singles; it may be her most underrated album. Vocally, she's in fine form as she sings jazz numbers like "Crazy He Calls Me" and "Pitiful," and pop covers like Sam Cooke's "Bring It On Home To Me." It's marred by Arif Mardin's dated show-tune arrangements, which seem like a relic of her earlier Columbia failures, not the soul renaissance she led at the time. But it rewards deep listening because of Aretha's deep commitment to these songs, which results in some wonderful vocal performances.
Mosi Reeves
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