ARETHA FRANKLIN has just released a new album…. her 38th studio recording. “New”, though, isn’t quite the correct adjective to describe the set – ‘A Woman Falling Out Of Love’- ‘cos most of the material was recorded three years ago and the circumstances surrounding its release are complicated to say the least.

Since the late 70s “the Queen of Soul” has, of course, been contracted to Arista but because of disagreements and ongoing health problems there’s been nothing new released since 2003. During this enforced hiatus Ms. FRANKLIN created her own label – Aretha’s Records – and, when she was able, recorded a number of new tracks. Arista boss, CLIVE DAVIS consistently maintained that ARETHA owed his label one more album but after the singer’s life threatening surgery the exec mellowed and has now allowed the release of ‘A Woman Falling Out Of Love’.

To distribute and promote the LP, ARETHA’S done a deal with retail giant Walmart who are currently stocking the album Stateside and featuring it prominently on their download site. To further complicate matters there was an audio glitch on one of the tracks (a vocal version of ‘Theme To A Summer Place’) and the album was delayed, but we’re reasonably reliably informed that the album is now available via Walmart – but don’t quote us !

Previews indicate a patchy set though those who’ve listened long and hard attest that – despite her health issues and the fact that she’s approaching 70, ARETHA is still “THE QUEEN OF SOUL”. The critics’ consensus suggests that the new song ‘U Can’t See Me’ is the highlight, while the opener ‘How Long I’ve Been waiting’ is also winning lots of support. The album’s guest performers include RONNIE ISLEY and you can catch a full review on the excellent site –,uk