This budget box set includes no less than 100 tracks from Aretha's golden tenure at Atlantic, and presents, in roughly chronlogical order, the bulk of her catalogue originally released between 1967 and 1976.
Such is the high quality control maintained by Aretha over this period, that the effect of listening to these 5 cds (more than 5 and half hours) is quite frankly (no pun intended) overwhelming. No track is less than very good, and many are a pure joy to listen to, helped for the most part by Jerry Wexler's inspired gutsy production, but not forgetting Curtis Mayfield's contributions from the Sparkle album, from which 5 tracks close this compilation.
Most buyers will already have around 20 of these songs, as all the famous singles are included, but don't let that put you off. The true pleasure is finding so many more tracks that measure up as well. It's pointless to mention highlights, but I was particularly struck by Prove It, I Wonder, Night Time is the Right Time, All The King's Horses and Something He Can Feel, none of which I previously knew. Even if you are a casual fan, this is heartily recommended.
I have to question the long term wisdom of releasing such a valuable catalogue at a bargain price, but for now I'm content to wallow in these amazing songs in the knowledge that my wallet has hardly been touched. Demon Music's best release so far.
If you also want to get an extended view of her career after this period, I can recommend another budget release on the Sony Camden Deluxe label - A Deeper Love, The Best Of Aretha Franklin which covers 1980-1997, with a further 32 tracks on 2 CDs. Buy both sets, and you will have almost everything you need from the queen of soul.
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