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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fine, Talented and Beautiful, 15 Jan 2007
By 
David R. Bishop "Bishbaby" (Plymouth, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Young, Gifted And Black (Audio CD)
Young Gifted and Black is my favorite Aretha Franklin album. It's not her most highly acclaimed, and not her most succesful. There isn't a British hit single here, but what feeling and what healing pours out of the grooves.

The title track was a No 1 British hit for Bob & Marcia in 1970. As much as I like that version and Nina Simone's original, Aretha takes the song to a whole new place. Her voice swoops and soars around the melody, taken at a slow pace.

'Brand New Me', 'Oh Me Oh My (I'm A Fool For You Baby)' and 'Day Dreaming' are joyous statements of new love. Her own song 'First Snow In Kokomo' offers a rare glimpse into Aretha's personal life, and a happy new relationship.

The album has it's dark corners, notably 'All The Kings Horses' (covered a couple of years ago by Joss Stone on 'Soul Sessions'). Never was a hopeless lost love lamented so finely. Given that, the album is much more upbeat than much of her earlier work. There isn't a single blues on this set. I love Aretha singing blues, but she was always capable of a lot more too.

She was never a prolific songwrier, most of the songs here were versions of songs that had been out before. I don't use the term 'cover versions', because Aretha Franklin brought something new and special to every song she sang. She chose her songs with care, wisdom and the odd flash of genious. She was probably the first major artist to acknowledge Elton John by including 'Border Song'.

'Rock Steady' proves that the lady could funk it up with the best of them, and she makes The Beatles 'Long and Winding Road' sound like a gospel song.

If you have a greatest hits compilation and want to get into Aretha Franklin a bit more, then I recommend this one as a great starting place.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sublime, 26 Nov 2007
By 
Andy Edwards "staxasoul" (Essex UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Young, Gifted And Black (Audio CD)
By the time Aretha released "Young Gifted and Black" in 1972, she had proved that she could bounce back from something of a commercial slump, with her triumphant live concerts in San Francisco (Feb 1971), which resulted in a hugely succesful live album. Some of the songs here had been recorded well before those live dates, with Aretha going back into the studio shortly afterwards to complete the album. Looking back over her career, this period can be seen as possibly Aretha's most creative - she is clearly at her peak, both interpreting other's material and writing her own songs.

Aretha had produced an anthem for Black pride with "Respect", and she revisited that theme with the title track, a gospel infused rendition of Nina Simone's composition, and there is a similar feel on her interpretations of both "Long and Winding Road" and "Border Song". The latter surprised many, but surely can be viewed as a plea for equality and tolerance, in keeping with the title track. That said, it is the deeply personal songs which define this set, giving a portrait of the artist that had been only glimpsed previously.

Of these, "All the Kings Horses", a bleak tribute to her failed marriage to Ted White, and "A Brand New Me" a celebration of her new found optimism stand out. Similarly "Day Dreaming" is clearly a reference to her new love, as is "First Snow in Kokomo". From the same sessions, "Bridge Over Troubled Water" became a smash single (only appearing on a Greatest Hits album) and "With Pen in Hand" was held over to her 1974 album "Let Me n Your Life", probably because it was TOO personal for the 1972 release.

Throughout the album, there is impressive support on backing vocals, from her sisters, Erma and Caroline, and The Sweet Inspirations. In fact, the contributing musicians on this album read like a "who's who" of 70's Soul - Donny Hathaway, Billy Preston, Al Jackson Jr, Bernard Purdie, Hubert Laws, Dr John, the list goes on - all in the hands of producers Jerry Wexler, Tom Dowd and Arif Mardin.

You could view this album as just another Aretha classic - as it is - but it is also a testament to her resiliance, as well as her talent. It also illustrates the link between an artists personal life and their art. Buy it and immerse yourself in Soul.
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5.0 out of 5 stars SO, very good and red vinyl., 15 Aug 2013
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This is a quality recording with Aretha Franklin sounding brilliant, with all the backing music really well recorded. This is class !!!
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars yes I love it, 14 Mar 2013
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This review is from: Young, Gifted And Black (Audio CD)
In my younger years I had this as an album. I loved it then. I love it as a CD.
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Young, Gifted And Black by Aretha Franklin (Audio CD - 1994)
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