Saturday, July 2, 2011

Sweet, Hot Soul: Aretha Franklin and King Curtis

Aretha Franklin, Queen of Soul, King Curtis, the King of Funk share the same stage in 1971. With guest appearances by Billy Preston, recently elevated into the pop mainstream with his work on the Beatles last few albums and the Memphis Horns, the roof nearly blew right off the auditorium. Here is hot soul music and R&B as tight as a drum in the sun. 

Aretha Franklin's performances at the Fillmore West were her first, and producer Jerry Wexler came up with the idea of using studio players in lieu of her regular band. Franklin had worked with King Curtis previously in the studio and the players he brought to the table included Cornell Dupree, drummer Bernard Purdie, Pancho Morales on congas, bassist Jerry Jemmont, and electric pianist Truman Thomas. In addition, the band enlisted Billy Preston to play organ and also enlisted the aid of the Memphis Horns. In other words, this was a group that could actually push the Queen of Soul out onto a ledge and was a match for her vocal power. The Memphis Horns introduced the shows each night and then brought Curtis and his band out for an opening set. And from night one, as compiled and heard on his Live at Fillmore West album, these sets were smoking, in the pocket, and greasy, with highlights like "Whole Lotta Love," "Them Changes," "Whiter Shade of Pale," and a burning cover of "Signed, Sealed, Delivered (I'm Yours)." When Franklin does walk onto the stage, she struts and goes into high gear with "Respect." Her performance on that opening night includes amazing renditions of "Spirit in the Dark" (with Ray Charles guesting), "Bridge Over Troubled Water," "Love the One You're With" (also with Charles), and "Dr. Feelgood." The original album is augmented with tunes that didn't make the cut, including the oft-bootlegged "Call Me."
King Curtis
In addition to wonderful between-song banter and inside jokes, the true flow of the shows, the enthusiasm of the audiences, and raw, in-your-face performances put this set in a league of its own. Aretha Franklin and King Curtis' Don't Fight the Feeling is as saucy as it gets. (AMG)

         Track Listing:
o   Them Changes
o   A Whiter Shade Of Pale
o   My Sweet Lord
o   Ode To Billie Joe
o   Mr Bojangles
o   Soul Serenade
o   Memphis Soul Stew
o   Signed, Sealed, Delivered (I'm Yours)
o   Respect
o   Call Me
o   Mixed-Up Girl
o   Love The One You're With
o   Bridge Over Troubled Water
o   Eleanor Rigby
o   Make It With You
o   You're All I Need To Get By
o   Dr. Feelgood
o   Spirit In The Dark
o   Spirit In The Dark (Reprise)
o   Knock On Wood
o   Them Changes
o   Whole Lotta Love
o   A Whiter Shade Of Pale (Alt)
o   I Stand Accused
o   Soul Serenade (Alt)
o   Memphis Soul Stew (Alt)
o   Respect (Alt)
o   Call Me (Alt)
o   Love The One You're With (Alt)
o   Bridge Over Troubled Water (Alt)
Listen here

No comments: