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Aretha Franklin & King Curtis: Live at the Fillmore West--Don't Fight the Feeling

I'm not so big on the product placements, but I couldn't help throw out a mention of this incredible new reissue of the complete recordings of Aretha Franklin's three-night stand at San Francisco's Fillmore West, with the stellar backing of King Curtis and his Kingpins. The four-disc set from Rhino Handmade includes all the live recordings from which a pair of single LP releases (one each for Franklin and Curtis) were issued in 1971 on Atlantic Records.

Aretha is in top form in this recording, backed up by the likes of guitarist Cornell Dupree, drummer Bernard Purdie, the Memphis Horns, Billy Preston on organ, and of course the mighty King Curtis on tenor and soprano sax. Normally, Franklin toured with a showband out of Detroit, but for this recording producer Norman Wexler wanted the best sound he could possibly get, and some prime inspiration for Franklin to push herself to new heights vocally, which she does throughout these sides.

Of course she excels on standards like Respect and Spirit in the Dark (including a guest appearance on the latter by Ray Charles on the final night, he just happened to be in the audience), and her interpretations of Eleanor Rigby and Bridge Over Troubled Water inject soul into places where you never thought it could exist.

The set ain't cheap, nearly $80, but in a limited edition of 5,000 (mine came a week ago, and is #3041) that's only available from the Rhino Handmade website, it's an act now or forever hold your peace proposition (look for it to show up at double the price on eBay in a few months).

We now return you to your regularly scheduled imagery and musings.

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