Thursday, June 26, 2008

CD Review: Aretha Live at Fillmore West

1) Respect
2) Love The One You're With
3) Bridge Over Troubled Water
4) Eleanor Rigby
5) Make It With You
6) Don't Play That Song
7) Dr. Feelgood
8) Spirit In The Dark
9) Spirit In The Dark
10) Reach Out And Touch
Find out why Aretha's the queen. This is the singer, songwriter, and pianist at her best - making crowds go crazy with her many talents. As if seeing this legend wasn't enough, she's joined on stage by Ray Charles, King Curtis, and Billy Preston!
Only Aretha could get away with turning "Eleanor Rigby" into a punchy soul number as powerful as anything else on this disc. Even better is the piercing shuffle of "Don't Play That Song", the passion of "Love The One You're With", and a speedy take on "Respect" that would do James Brown proud. Curtis busts out the famous sax solo at a frantic pace.
Aretha can cover anything and make it her own. The King Curtis band's take on "Bridge Over Troubled Water" sounds like a Stax single, with Aretha's trademark screams pulling together the background harmonies, horns, and percussion into a masterpiece. It's one of the most intense and spiritual moments on the disc, and Truman Thomas's beautiful electric piano intro always brings a smile to my face.
A more romantic moment arrives with "Make It With You". "Dr. Feelgood" is a bluesy number that retains the classic soul feel. Ray duets with the queen on a reprise of "Spirit in the Dark", and the combination is just as good as you'd expect.
Want ten tracks of soul done right? Aretha and her fantastic band turn every song into a party. No further proof of her greatness is needed.
****1/2 out of five

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