Aretha Franklin – Young, Gifted and Black (1972/2012)
FLAC (tracks) 24-bit/192 kHz | Time – 44:47 minutes | 1,67 GB | Genre: Soul
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download | Front Cover | © Rhino Atlantic
“Young, Gifted and Black” is Aretha Franklin’s remarkable 1972 Gold-certified work, finding the singer at the height of her artistic powers.
For the release, Franklin worked with legendary producers Jerry Wexler, Arif Mardin and Tom Dowd. “Young, Gifted and Black” is an eclectic collection of covers coupled with Franklin originals. Standouts include Elton John’s “Border Song” and The Beatles’ “The Long and Winding Road”. Franklin’s own compositions “Day Dreaming” and “Rock Steady” reached #1 and #2 on Billboard’s Top R&B Singles. The album is included on VH1’s “Greatest Albums of All Time” and won a GRAMMY Award for Best Female R&B Performance.
It’s nearly impossible to single out any of Aretha Franklin’s early-’70s albums for Atlantic as being her best, particularly given the breadth of her output during this era. In terms of albums rather than singles, it’s probably her strongest era, and if you count live albums like Amazing Grace, choosing a standout or a favorite record isn’t any easier. Yet of this stunning era, Young, Gifted and Black certainly ranks highly among her studio efforts, with many arguing that it may be her greatest. And with songs like “Rock Steady,” that may be a valid argument. But there’s much more here than just a few highlights. If you really want to go song by song, you’d be hard-pressed to find any throwaways here – this is quite honestly an album that merits play from beginning to end. You have upbeat songs like the aforementioned “Rock Steady” that will get you up out of your seat moving and grooving, yet then you also have a number of more introspective songs that slow down the tempo and are more likely to relax than rouse. And if that wide spectrum of moods isn’t enough reason to celebrate this album, you get some unlikely songs like a take on “The Long and Winding Road.” Plus, you also have to keep in mind that Franklin was in her prime here, not only in terms of voice but also in terms of confidence – you can just feel her exuding her status as the best of the best. Furthermore, her ensemble of musicians competes with any that she had worked with on previous albums. So even if this isn’t the greatest Aretha Franklin album of the early ’70s, it’s certainly a contender, the sort of album that you can’t go wrong with.
1. Aretha Franklin – Oh Me Oh My (I’m a Fool for You Baby)
2. Aretha Franklin – Day Dreaming
3. Aretha Franklin – Rock Steady
4. Aretha Franklin – Young, Gifted and Black
5. Aretha Franklin – All the King’s Horses
6. Aretha Franklin – A Brand New Me
7. Aretha Franklin – April Fools
8. Various Interprets – I’ve Been Loving You Too Long
9. Various Interprets – First Snow in Kokomo
10. Aretha Franklin – The Long and Winding Road
11. Various Interprets – Didn’t I (Blow Your Mind This Time)
12. Aretha Franklin – Border Song (Holy Moses)