European boutique label SOUL4REAL have two splendid new 45s on offer – offering two distinct takes on the music we love.
First up there’s a wonderful 45 on ARETHA FRANKLIN. The disc pairs ‘Can You Love Again’ with ‘I´m Trying To Overcome’. The former was recorded in 1972 during the Quincy Jones helmed sessions for the ‘Hey Now Hey’ LP. If you know anything about this album you’ll know that Aretha specifically asked for Jones to be producer and between them they wanted to make a jazz-flavoured set. That and the fact that the recording dragged on and on didn’t please Atlantic boss Jerry Wexler who eventually insisted that a more “classic” Aretha set was what was needed. Thus the final album featured tracks like ‘Angel’ and ‘Sister from Texas’ though jazz standards like ‘Moody’s Mood’ where also included. For some reason, ‘Can You Love Again’ was canned even though it delivers what Wexler wanted – the “classic” Aretha sound.
‘I´m Trying To Overcome’ is another outtake, this time from the 1970 LP, ‘Spirit In The Dark’ . The album was produced by Wexler, Arif Mardin and Tom Dowd and recorded in both New York and Miami with the famous Muscle Shoals session band and the Dixie Flyers (from the famed Criteria Studio). Like ‘Can You Love Again’, this cut delivers the “classic” Aretha sound – harrowing, spine tingling and soulful. Why it was left off the final album listing is anybody’s guess but so good to have it (and ‘Can You Love Again’) on a 45. If any proof were needed, both recordings show that Aretha was (indeed still is) the Queen Of Soul!
The second new Soul4Real 45 offers something a little different – two blues tracks from MAGIC SAM! Sam (real name Samuel Gene Maghett) was born in Mississippi but like many of his generation (he was born in 1937) he made the trek up North, eventually settling in Chicago where he became a premier exponent in that city’s West Side blues community. Indeed amongst his most famous albums is the Delmark 1967 release, ‘West Side Soul’ and that LP is the source of the two sides on the Soul4Real 45. One side, ‘Every Night and Every Day’ is a gritty , Chicago slow burning blues with emotional vocal and biting guitar lines. The putative B side is ‘That’s All I Need’ and it’s still bluesy but it has a more optimistic, jaunty flavour – not quite Sam Cooke or Bobby Bland, but hints of both great stylists about this track.
Sam died in 1969. He was aged just 32 and this single is a wonderful homage to him and congratulation to the Soul4Real team for offering something different – but just as soulful as anything in their esteemed catalogue!