I recently scored a trove of R&B records at a small town thrift. Marvin Gaye, Al Green, Funkadelic, Rick James, Isaac Hayes… great stuff all. But, the record I was most excited to find was 1968s Lady Soul from Aretha Franklin:
Yup, Mrs. Murphy from The Blues Brothers!
At least that was how I was introduced to her.
It’s hard to overstate how influential movies like The Blues Brothers were to a kid living in the sticks of northern Idaho. There weren’t any concerts or all ages venues to speak of, there wasn’t a “scene”. Heck, there wasn’t even an FM rock radio station!
But we had a movie theater, and a drive in, and, by 1980, cable, video stores and don’t forget HBO. Somebody always had HBO. A (ahem…) friend of mine figured out which pins on which chip set to modify on the set-top cable box that would grant free HBO. That’s where I saw The Blues Brothers, and Aretha Franklin, for the first time:
Of course, 20 years later there was a sequel and Mr. and Mrs. Murphy revisited their scene from the classic:
But enough of the reminiscing, lets get to the record! Mine is an original 1968 pressing with a green/white/blue label that I’d not seen on another Atlantic record.
The Album starts strong with the #2 hit Chain Of Fools (#1 R&B), blows through a James Brown tune, settles in on the Curtis Mayfield classic People Get Ready then on to a song called Niki Hoeky (which I swear begins very much like the Tony Joe White tune Polk Salad Annie). The Goffin/King/Wexler #8 (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman closes the A side.
Side B opens with a Franklin penned (co-written by then husband Ted White) tune Since You’ve Been Gone (Sweet Sweet Baby), which was an R&B chart topper and a #5 Hot 100 tune, followed by Ray Charles’ Come Back Baby, and a mellow version of Groovin’.
This thrifty LP cleaned up to VG, just a bit of surface noise and a few pops to contend with. The cover, unfortunately, showed some water damage but is in fair condition.
I was smiling from the first note on this record, I was dancing a few bars in, all for a quarter.