- Released: February 1, 2008
- Originally Released: 2008
- Label: Sbme Special Mkts.
Record Collector (magazine) - p.864 stars out of 5
-- "[S]he has incredible majesty and power, an instinctive blend of gospel, blues and jazz that stretches way back beyond her years."
- 1.Drinking Again
- 2.Today I Sing The Blues
- 3.What A Difference A Day Made
- 4.Without The One You Love
- 5.Trouble In Mind
- 6.Muddy Water
- 7.Only The Lonely
- 8.I Wonder (Where Are You Tonight)
- 9.Laughing On The Outside (Crying On The Inside)
- 10.Take A Look
- 11.Nobody Knows The Way I Feel This Morning
- 12.Evil Gal Blues
- 13.This Bitter Earth
- 14.Maybe I'm A Fool
Also available in a 3-pack with THE GREAT ARETHA FRANKLIN: THE FIRST 12 SIDES and SWEET BITTER LOVE.
Producers: John Hammond, Bob Mersey, Billy Jackson, Clyde Otis.
Compilation producer: Joe McEwen.
Recorded between 1960 and 1964. Includes liner notes by Joe McEwen.
Long before Aretha Franklin came to be the virtual definition of the term Soul Diva, she was on Columbia Records (the years 1960-1965). The label guided her in a blues-inspired torch-singer direction, so there's none of the funky, gospel-inspired soul rave-ups of her classic Atlantic Records period. Yet there is a very powerful, distinctive voice here: SINGS THE BLUES is a collection of tunes perhaps more suited to Dinah Washington or Frank Sinatra, yet Aretha makes these tunes her own.
Backed by a small band or a studio orchestra (with strings), she swings the standard "Trouble In Mind" and gives Sinatra's "Only The Lonely" the sad, wistful closing-time feel the ballad deserves. Her voice--one of the most distinctive America has ever produced--soars to the heavens throughout. If you can't get enough Aretha or wonder what she'd sound like singing standards, this budget-priced disc is for you.