Personnel includes: Aretha Franklin (vocals, piano); Lord Westbrook (guitar); Al Sears (tenor saxophone); Tyree Glenn, Quentin Jackson (trombone); Ray Bryant (piano); Bill Lee, Milt Hinton (bass); Osie Johnson, Sticks Evans, Belton Evans (drums).
Producers: John Hammond, Robert Mersey, Bobby Scott, Clyde Otis, Al Kasha.
Compilation producer: John Snyder.
Recorded between 1960 & 1964. Includes liner notes by David Nathan.
This two-disc set celebrates an often overlooked or wrongly dismissed period of Aretha Franklin's career. Prior to signing with Atlantic in 1966, she spent the first half of the '60s recording for Columbia Records. A variety of musical directions were pursued by the label, showing that while perhaps there wasn't a consensus or about how to best present the young singer, her talents were undeniably enormous. From pop and show tunes to Gospel, Aretha regularly demonstrated herself to be more than equal to all of it--in fact she often turned fair to middling material into something greater by filtering it through her powerfully evocative voice. This is a smartly assembled anthology that makes a strong and clear statement about a then-emerging star who went on to be one of the preeminent singers in the second half of the 20th century.