Tuesday, 14 June 2016

"I Never Loved A Man The Way I Love You" by ARETHA FRANKLIN (1995 Rhino 'Expanded' MONO CD Remaster) - A Review by Mark Barry...

"...A Soul Serenade..."

"Sock it to me! Sock it to me! Sock it to me!" That famous refrain in a groovy take on Otis Redding's "Respect" opens Aretha Franklin's March 1967 Atlantic Records debut album "I Never Loved A Man The Way I Love You". And by the time you make it to Track 2 - a gorgeously arranged cover of Ray Charles' 1956 Atlantic R&B weeper "Drown In My Own Tears" – and that amazing title track at No. 3 - those arbitrary accolades of 'Best Soul Album Ever Released' actually start to make total sense.

Even now in sunny June 2016 - Aretha's first album for the mighty Atlantic Records is an awesome thing to behold - so many great tracks, so much feel and it's damn moving too (I rate her own "Baby, Baby, Baby" as one of 'the' best songs on the iconic record). Let's get to Soul Music's real deal...

UK, Europe and USA released June 1995 - "I Never Loved A Man The Way I Love You" by ARETHA FRANKLIN on Rhino/Atlantic Remasters 8122-719340-2 (Barcode 081227193423, UK and Europe issue) is a CD Remaster of the 1967 11-track album with four Bonus Tracks and plays out as follows (41:26 minutes):

Side 1:
1. Respect (Otis Redding song)
2. Drown In My Own Tears (Danny Glover song, Ray Charles cover)
3. I Never Loved A Man (The Way I Love You) (Ronny Shannon song)
4. Soul Serenade (Curtis Ousley/Luther Dixon song)
5. Don't Let Me Lose This Dream (Aretha Franklin/Ted White song)
6. Baby, Baby, Baby (Aretha and Carolyn Franklin song)

Side 2:
7. Dr. Feelgood (Love Is A Serious Business) (Aretha Franklin/Ted White song)
8. Good Times (Sam Cooke cover)
9. Do Right Woman - Do Right Man (Dan Penn/Chips Moman song)
10. Save Me (Curtis Ousley/Aretha and Carolyn Franklin song)
11. A Change Is Gonna Come (Sam Cooke cover)
Tracks 1 to 11 are the album "I Never Loved A Man The Way I Love You" - released 10 March 1967 in the USA on Atlantic 8139 (Mono) and Atlantic SD 8139 (Stereo) and June 1967 in the UK on Atlantic 587 066 (Mono) and Atlantic 588 066 (Stereo). 

The MONO MIX is used for this CD reissue. Arranged and Directed by TOM DOWD and Produced by JERRY WEXLER - the LP was recorded in January and February of 1967 in the FAME Studios in Muscle Shoals, Alabama. It peaked at No. 2 in the USA on the Pop charts (No. 1 on the R&B charts) and No. 36 in the UK on the Pop charts.

12. Respect (Stereo Version)
Mono Version used for the USA 7" single of "Respect" released 16 April 1967 on Atlantic 2403 - Pop and R&B No. 1
13.  I Never Loved A Man (The Way I Love You) (Stereo Version)
Mono Version used for the USA 7" single of "I Never Loved A Man The Way I Love You" released 10 February 1967 on Atlantic 2386, A-side - Pop No. 9 and No. 1 R&B
14. Do Right Man - Do Right Woman (Stereo Version)
Mono Version used for the USA 7" single of "Do Right Woman - Do Right Man" released 10 February 1967 on Atlantic 2386, B-side

The players:
ARETHA FRANKLIN - Vocals and Piano
SPOONER OLDHAM - Organ and Electric Piano
JIMMY JOHNSON - Guitar (All Tracks except 3 and 10)
CHIPS MOMAN - Guitar (Tracks 3 and 10)
ROGER HAWKINS - Drums (All Tracks except 4, 7 and 8)
GENE CHRISSMAN - Drums (Tracks 4, 7 and 8)


The 8-leaf foldout inlay has liner notes from noted writer and Soul historian DAVID NATHAN followed by Jerry Wexler's original album liner notes. You get a detailed history of the Muscle Shoals sessions and how the whole thing together. There are also full album credits and reissue details. The mighty duo of DAN HERSCH and BILL INGLOT carried out the MONO Transfers and Remaster and it sounds just great - punchy and vibrant - air around the loose sessions. The three STEREO versions of the big single sides are only icing on a very tasty cake.

Knowing they were onto something special - Atlantic rush-released the title track "I Never Loved A Man The Way I Love You" on the 10th of February 1967 as an American 45. Recorded a few weeks prior on the 24th of January and written by Detroit's Ronny Shannon - it's a song that is so synonamous with Aretha that its entered into legend and myth by now. But the moment that wicked Spooner Oldham electric piano starts on those slinky notes - you're hooked and then moved - and that's rare. "Soul Serenade" and "Don't Let Me Lose This Dream" continue that Bluesy Soul vibe with only the cha-cha shuffle of "Don't Let Me Lose This Dream" feeling slightly awkward and actually out of place.

But then you're whacked with sheer magic - her own "Baby, Baby, Baby". As she sings "...I didn't mean to hurt you..." - you 'feel' it - the power of the lyrics given that extra oomph by the three ladies giving it some backing vocals (Erma and Carolyn Franklin with Cissy Houston). Atlantic used the wickedly sexy "Dr. Feelgood" as the B-side to "Respect" on Atlantic 2403 in April 1967. My other craves are the fab groover "Save Me", Dan Penn's magnificent "Do Right Woman-Do Right Man" which he returned to on his June 1994 CD album "Do Right Man" (see separate review) ands the final nod to the master - a heartbreakingly beautiful take of Sam Cooke's progress anthem "A Change Is Gonna Come" - the perfect ending to the most rounded of Soul LPs from the period.

"...Woman's only human...you should understand..." - Aretha sang on "Do Right Woman - Do Right Man". Not sure there's anything 'human' about this superhuman LP. A CD you should treasure - never mind own...

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Spines of Exceptional CD Remasters

Spines of Exceptional CD Remasters

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