I’m still going through this $10 embarrassment of riches and get to...
There are no masterpieces here like “Respect”, from I Never Loved a Man… or “Natural Woman” from Lady Soul, but while the peaks aren’t as high the valleys aren’t as low, either.
It kicks off smartly with “Think”, which should probably end in an exclamation point. Her version of “Say a Little Prayer” beats Dionne Warwick’s. And “The Night Time Is the Right Time” is just about as good as Ray Charles’. (But do hunt down the Creedence version with that bitchin’ electric guitar.) And maybe I’m just not keeping up with the (past) times, but I like her “You Send Me” more than Sam Cooke’s!
Things keep moving briskly almost to the end when the material dries up. Although she sings so well you might not notice.
This is her third record, squeezed out in the space of a year and barely a half hour long. I can’t really blame Atlantic for cashing in on her sudden fame. Aretha’s Gold takes the cream of this and the other two records and thus ends up as one of the great Greatest Hits records ever. Not that I’m sorry I drilled down here...
And the fact that it’s the most unfamiliar one to me (so far) I'm liking it more than I probably should. So it's really only the third best of the three. To which I say, So Freakin' What?