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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Aretha: Rolling in the Divas

Aretha Franklin Sings the Great Diva Classics begins with "At Last" and immediately we are struck by how the Queen's inimitable style makes the Etta James classic her own.

Produced by legendary producer Clive Davis, this is a contemporary classic from an absolute icon. Actuallly, make that two icons. I felt thrilled this came together because it's surely a future classic if not an instant one. Certainly, La Franklin's intent on this effort is to show us she's the ultimate diva through the one-upmanship of her interpretations.

And she goes disco! I love that! Obviously, she's aware of her current demographics among fans (or Clive is), defying remixers not to bring her cover of "I  Will Survive" to clubs. Her first single off the album, "Rolling in the Deep", was sneaked weeks ago and also seems to beckon dancefloor tweaking. Chaka Khan's "I'm Every Woman" is pure, wonderful, unadulterated disco certainly meant to capitalize on that revival. "You Keep Me Hanging On," too, gets the full disco treatment.

On Alicia Keyes' "No One," Aretha tackles reggae lite. She even has the chutzpa to cover "People" and "Midnight Train to Georgia." Each song, however, sounds deeply felt and delivered in grand style.

The album closes with "Nothing Compares 2 U" (presumably the diva in mind was Sinead O'Connor, not Prince, but then again who knows). Nicely arranged as a jazz tune and Aretha makes it swing.

Ten tracks and not a bum one in the pack. The cd includes copious liner notes, credits and pics. Snap this one up!

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