Review #154: Amazing Grace, Aretha Franklin

Karla Clifton
3 min readAug 16, 2021

#154: Amazing Grace, Aretha Franklin

It’s been a while since we’ve seen Aretha on this list, and it’s a delight to have her back.

This is a live album, and it took place at the L.A. New Temple Missionary Baptist Church in 1972. Not only was Aretha Franklin there bringing down the house, Mick Jagger was there, dancing along!

Her father, the Rev. C.L. Franklin, was also in attendance. As you might expect, her father was a popular musician as well, and was actually known as “The Man with the Million Dollar Voice.” I guess that makes Aretha the Woman with the Ten Million Dollar Voice.

Seven years after this service took place, C.L. Franklin was shot twice at point-blank range during an attempted robbery. He was in a coma for five years, and then he died. That makes his remarks, which come midway through this service, all the more poignant.

FAVORITE SONGS:

“Mary, Don’t You Weep” — The Southern California Community Choir are doing the background vocals, and even though Aretha is obviously the star, they really make this album into something cool.

“Medley: Precious Lord, Take My Hand/You’ve Got A Friend” “Sing it, Aretha!” The church choir on this song slays me dead. Also, she slips a Carole King song in!

“Old Landmark (with Rev. James Cleveland)” — The Rev. James Cleveland is known as one of the best gospel singers who ever lived. Imagine being at a church service with Aretha, Mick Jagger, and this guy. This would be the peak of my whole life.

“How I Got Over” — This one is unbelievably fun for a church song. Added it to my running playlist.

“Amazing Grace” — Will stop you in your tracks no matter who you are. I want to describe every single incredible thing she does with her voice but I think you should just listen to the damn thing.

“Remarks by Reverend C.L. Franklin” — Love this part so much. Her dad explains that Aretha was greatly influenced by Cleveland. He’s just so punchy with pride over his daughter.

“God Will Take Care of You” — It’s really sweet that her dad introduces this one.

“Wholy Holy” — A piano, a church organ, and an electric guitar all at once?! I didn’t even realize this was a Marvin Gaye cover until writing this review.

“You’ll Never Walk Alone” — Believe it or not, this is a cover of a song from the Rodgers & Hammerstein musical Carousel. The choral intro is incredible. She turns every single genre into a soul song.

“Never Grow Old” — God, her runs are superhuman. Aretha Franklin was a freak of nature and don’t let anyone tell you different.

LEAST FAVORITE SONGS:

“Give Yourself to Jesus” — Sorry, but a big NO to songs that remind me of my own mortality. (Unless that song is “Amazing Grace.”)

IS RS FULL OF IT?

Yes. THIS is the best album of all time. Marvin Gaye (current holder of the number one spot) called this album her “singular masterpiece,” and he was right.

Review #153: Rid Of Me, PJ Harvey

Review #155: The Black Album, Jay-Z

--

--