Spanish based boutique label SOUL 4 REAL is lining up two new super 7”s featuring two giants of the classic soul genre… ARETHA FRANKLIN and PERCY SLEDGE.
The upcoming 45 on the still sadly missed “Queen Of Soul” pairs ‘So Soon’ with ‘It Was You;’ – two strikingly different sides that highlight all the splendour of Aretha’s art. Both tracks date from 1967 and were recorded in New York during the sessions for her second Atlantic album, ‘Aretha Arrives’. If you know a little about Ms Franklin’s story, you’ll know that in ’67 Atlantic sent her down to Muscle Shoals to record but for all kinds of reasons (notably her then manager/husband’s falling out with Rick Hall and some of the famous Muscle Shoals musicians as well as Aretha’s injured elbow) the sessions were abruptly ended; so the Muscle Shoals crew had to trek to New York to finish the sessions. The players included Spooner Oldham and Roger Hawkins and along with some stellar backing singers, like Carolyn and Erma Franklin plenty of tracks were cut including the aforementioned ‘So Soon’ and ‘It Was You’ Despite their quality they never made it onto the album, but now , thanks to Soul 4 Real we can enjoy both in all their vinyl glory.
‘So Soon’ is a big, brash, upbeat affair. It was penned by Van McCoy and had originally been recorded by Donnie Elbert but Aretha, her sisters and the Muscle Shoals team really ignite the affair. ‘It Was You’ is different again. Here Aretha takes the old James Brown downtempo number right back to church… old school piano, soaring, testifying vocals, what’s not to like?
PERCY SLEDGE was the archetypal Southern soul man and, of course, he’s always known for his ‘When Aman Loves Woman’ – one of those very rare songs that most people (those with taste anyway) can remember exactly when and where they heard Percy’s plaintive soaring voice on the opening line. The singer, from Leighton, Alabama, scored 11 more hits during his tenure with Atlantic Records but as the 60s closed out many clearly though that Percy’s melancholy style was a little dated and the hits dried up and though he kept on recording under the auspices of Quin Ivy the Atlantic execs up in NYC refused to release many of them. And it’s three of those so-called “rejects” that win first time vinyl release on this new Soul 4 Real maxi single.
The three songs are ‘Baby, Baby, Baby’, ‘You Can Always Get It Where You Got It’, and ‘Same Old Loverman’ and they first saw the official light of day in a 2010 digital only release. ‘Baby, Baby, Baby’ was an old Aretha song (it featured on her ‘I Never Loved A Man…’ album) and Percy’s 1969 version retains the churchy feel of that original. ‘You Can Always Get It Where You Got It, and ‘Same Old Loverman’ are covers too and both date from 1972. The former is a Swamp Dogg song while the latter was penned by folk singer Gordon Lightfoot but you can be sure Mr Sledge takes it right on down to Soulsville.