Producers: Jerry Wexler, Tom Dowd, Arif Mardin.
Compilation producer: Gary Stewart.
Includes liner notes by Steven Ivory.
Digitally remastered by Bill Inglot and Dan Hersch (DigiPrep).
Personnel: Aretha Franklin (vocals, piano).
Liner Note Author: Steven Ivory.
If there is a better female soul singer than Aretha Franklin in this galaxy, we have not yet heard her. This Rhino compilation, while in no way comprehensive, is nonetheless an outstanding sampler of songs by one of soul music's all-time giants. Save a couple of missteps (the crossover attempts of her versions of "Elenor Rigby" and "The Weight") there's not a dud among these 16 songs and some, like "Chain of Fools," "Baby I Love You," and "Respect," rank among the greatest pop songs ever recorded.
Franklin's performances are mesmerizing and seem to embody the perfect balance between nuanced sensitivity and sheer powerhouse wailing. The combination of her unique magnetism and the quality of such songs as "Think," "I Never Loved A Man (The Way I Love You)," and "(You Make Me Feel) Like A Natural Woman" is almost too good to be true. The album's only shortcoming is that there aren't more tracks to savor. A perfect introduction to this phenomenal singer.