This was Aretha's fourth album for Atlantic and was top five in both UK and US, despite a playing time of under half-an-hour. When the grooves are as funky as these, who cares? Two great tracks had already been hit singles when the album came out - Think, which had been recorded on 15 April 1968, the day Martin Luther King was assassinated; and her fantastic re-interpretation of Burt Bacharach's I Say A Little Prayer, which she and the Sweet Inspirations had apparently worked up while on tour, just for fun. In America I Say A Little Prayer was buried as a flipside before discerning deejays turned it over, but it had been the bona-fide A-side the month before in the UK where it reached number 4.
Her revival of Don Covay's See Saw was the first single lifted from the album, with I Can't See Myself Leaving You being extracted the following year while she was taking time off to avoid burn out.
Sam Cooke had apparently come to the Franklin household while he was still in the Soul Stirrers and considering turning secular with an acetate of You Send Me. After its success she said, "I'd sure like to sing that, too" and here turns in a smoldering version which is not only secular but intensely sexualized to boot.
The Muscle Shoals crew were flown in to New York for all sessions and were augmented by the Sweet Inspirations and, in April 1968, the Memphis Horns. Most of the album was recorded that April, but three tracks held over from the Lady Soul sessions of December 1967 make up the remainder and feature Bobby Womack on guitar, an 8-piece brass section and Carolyn Franklin on additional background vocals. Two of these were written by Ronnie Shannon who had written I Never Loved A Man and Baby, I Love You.
Aretha had found her voice and was on a roll, complemented by Tom Dowd and Arif Mardin's arrangements and sure-footed production by Jerry Wexler. The album went gold.
Now overdue for a remaster, let's hope it comes with the full complement of bonus tracks from the period, singles and unreleased material that are bound to be gold dust