Entertainment Weekly - 6/8/01, p.77
"...This should be required listening for U.S. citizenship....a great start for the uninitiated soul seeker..." - Rating: B+
Personnel includes: Aretha Franklin, George Michael (vocals).
Producers: Jerry Wexler, Tom Dowd, Arif Marden, Luther Vandross, Narada Michale Walden.
Compilation producers: Gary Stewart, David McLees, David Gorman.
Recorded between 1967 & 1985. Includes liner notes by David Nathan.
Audio Remasterers: Dan Hersch; Bill Inglot.
Rhino's Aretha's Best is notable for attempting to squeeze highlights of every era of Aretha's career onto one disc. Unfortunately, the compilers threw logic and chronology out the window, preferring to vacillate between classic Atlantic recordings and very good latter-day Arista recordings. There are certainly some great performances missing, but this pretty much hits the majority of the big numbers, from "Respect" to "Freeway of Love." Unfortunately though, it does this within the course of three songs, which gives the compilation no grounding whatsoever. But if you're looking for just the basics -- just the basic hits without any rhyme or reason to the presentation -- this will suit your needs. The compilation would have been close to essential, however, if it had just made some sense. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine