Sunday, August 23, 2015

spirit in the dark

Aretha Franklin went back to her gospel roots and took four different bands to church movin and groovin with this serious southern soul.    Already established as "The Queen of Soul",  she had released nineteen albums over fourteen years (Songs of Faith in  1956; Aretha: With The Ray Bryant Combo in 1961;    The Electrifying Aretha Franklin   and The Tender, the Moving, the Swinging Aretha Franklin in 1962; Laughing on the Outside in 1963;     Unforgettable: A Tribute to Dinah Washington   and Runnin' Out of Fools  in 1964; Yeah!!!   in 1965;
1966 Soul Sister  in 1966;    Take It Like You Give It, I Never Loved a Man the Way I Love You,   Aretha Arrives, and Take a Look  in 1967;     Lady Soul,   Aretha in Paris,  and    Aretha Now in 1968; Soul '69 and  Soft and Beautiful in 1969; and This Girl's in Love with You  already in 1970)  with twenty-eight top thirty singles on the R&B chart (eight of them chart toppers) and eight top ten singles on the pop chart.  

After years of physical abuse, Franklin divorced her husband and manager Ted White in 1969 and gave birth to her son Kecalf Cunningham (with Ken Cunningham) in March of 1970.    She would express at the time:   "I am an old woman in disguise.  Trying to grow up is hurting, you know. You make mistakes. You try to learn from them and when you don't it hurts even more. And I've been hurt – been hurt bad."

'Spirit in the Dark' was recorded during May of 1969 and March of 1970 with such luminaries as Duand Allman,  the Dixie Flyers, and the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section ("the swampers")  at Atlantic South-Criteria Studios in Miami, Florida.   The sessions were produced by  Tom Dowd, Arif Mardin, and Jerry Wexler  and featured:    Aretha Franklin on vocals and piano;      Howard "Buzz" Feiten, Jimmy Johnson, Jay O'Rourke, Jimmy O'Rourke,  Cornell Dupree, Charlie Freeman, Eddie Hinton, and Duane Allman on guitar;     Dave Crawford on organ;    Jim Dickinson and Mike Utley on keyboards;   Barry Beckett on organ and electric piano;    Tommy McClure, Harold "Hog" Cowart, and  David Hood on bass;    Sammy Creason,  Ronald "Tubby" Ziegler,  Roger Hawkins,  and  Ray Lucas on drums;     and     Wyline Ivy, Margaret Branch, Almeda Lattimore, Pat Lewis, Evelyn Greene, Brenda Bryant, and  The Sweet Inspirations on background vocals.   

'Spirit in the Dark' reached number sixty-eight in Canada, twenty-five in Australia and the US, and number two on the US R&B album chart.

"Spirit in the Dark"

with Ray Charles

'Spirit in the Dark' 
full album:

00:00  "Don't Play That Song (You Lied)" (Ahmet Ertegün, Betty Nelson) 
02:59  "The Thrill Is Gone (From Yesterday's Kiss)" (Rick Darnell, Roy Hawkins) 
07:39  "Pullin'" (Carolyn Franklin, Jimmy Radcliffe) 
11:18  "You and Me" (Aretha Franklin) 
14:53  "Honest I Do" (Ewart Abner, Jimmy Reed) 
18:15  "Spirit in the Dark" (Aretha Franklin) 
22:19  "When the Battle Is Over" (Jessie Hill, Malcolm Rebennack) 
24:58  "One Way Ticket" (Aretha Franklin) 
27:52  "Try Matty's" (Aretha Franklin) 
30:25  "That's All I Want from You" (Fritz Rotter) 
33:12  "Oh No Not My Baby" (Gerry Goffin, Carole King) 
36:05  "Why I Sing the Blues" (Dave Clark, Riley King) 

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