- Released: December 14, 1993
- Originally Released: 1993
- Label: Atlantic
Rolling Stone - 3/16/72, p.58
"...an extremely personal, beautiful record...controlled throughout by one sensibility, Miss Franklin's..."
Spin - p.122
"Franklin dug into her culture, stepping out in satiny arrangements..."
- 1.Oh Me Oh My (I'm A Fool For You Baby)
- 2.Day Dreaming
- 3.Rock Steady
- 4.Young, Gifted And Black
- 5.All The King's Horses
- 6.A Brand New Me
- 7.April Fools
- 8.I've Been Loving You Too Long
- 9.First Snow In Kokomo
- 10.The Long And Winding Road
- 11.Didn't I (Blow Your Mind This Time)
- 12.Border Song (Holy Moses)
Personnel: Aretha Franklin (vocals, piano, celesta, electric piano); Aretha Franklin; Neal Rosengarden (trumpet, vibraphone, percussion); Robert "Pops" Popwell (bass instrument, percussion); Chuck Rainey, Eric Gale (bass instrument); Dr. John, Neal Rosengarden (percussion); J.R. Bailey, Pat Smith , Erma Franklin, Ronald Bright, Ann S. Clark, Sammy Turner, Margaret Branch (background vocals); Don Arnone (guitar, acoustic guitar); Cornell Dupree, Hugh McCracken (guitar); Hubert Laws (flute, alto flute); Andrew Love (tenor saxophone); Wayne Jackson (trumpet); Donny Hathaway (electric piano, organ); Billy Preston (organ); Ray Lucas, Bernard "Pretty" Purdie (drums, percussion); Al Jackson, Jr. (drums); Mac Rebennack (percussion); The Sweet Inspirations, Carolyn Franklin (background vocals).
Audio Remasterers: Dan Hersch; Bill Inglot.
Audio Remixer: Arif Mardin.
Liner Note Author: David Nathan.
Recording information: Atlantic Recording Studios, New York, NY (08/12/1970-02/16/1971); Criteria Studios, Miami, FL (08/12/1970-02/16/1971).
Ensemble: The Memphis Horns.
Arrangers: Arif Mardin; Tom Dowd.
Recorded over a seven-month period in 1970 and 1971, YOUNG, GIFTED AND BLACK captures Aretha Franklin at the peak of her artistic and commercial powers. A stirring, rock-solid release that holds its own with the singer's better-known albums, it also includes some eclectic song choices. Nestled against original, uptempo groovers like "Rock Steady," for example, is a soulful reading of the Beatles' "The Long and Winding Road." (Beatles sideman Billy Preston's signature organ playing is featured throughout the recording.)
Upon its release in January 1972, the album yielded four Top Ten singles on the R&B charts and two Top Ten singles on the pop charts. Franklin baffled some fans at the time by covering "Border Song (Holy Moses)," but the song, composed by a then-obscure team of Elton John and Bernie Taupin, landed at #5 on the R&B charts. Franklin's stirring cover of Simon and Garfunkel's "Bridge Over Troubled Water," recorded during the same sessions but omitted from the initial release, appears on the reissue. Overall, YOUNG, GIFTED AND BLACK is one of the brightest releases in what would prove to be Franklin's most fertile, diverse, and productive period.