Unforgettable: Tribute To Dinah Washington/Runnin' Out Of...
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• Before she signed to Atlantic Records in 1966, the undisputed Queen of Soul made ten albums for the Columbia label, starting in 1961. These albums (her fifth and sixth) have only appeared briefly on CD, and there is a great demand from Aretha’s many fans, new and old, to have the albums available once more.
• The concept of “Unforgettable: A Tribute To Dinah Washington”, issued in August 1964, is self-explanatory. Dinah Washington had died in December 1963, having given much support and patronage to the young Aretha. Franklin delivers her unique take on songs made famous by Washington, backed by the cream of New York’s finest session musicians.
• “Runnin’ Out Of Fools”, issued in December 1964, sees Aretha make twelve well-known songs of the time completely her own. From Bacharach (“Walk On By”) to Motown (“My Guy”) via Charlie and Inez Foxx (“Mockingbird”), every track is a masterpiece of interpretation. The bonus tracks are contemporary non-album singles sides, including the hit “Can’t You Just See Me”.
• The booklet is fully annotated and illustrated.
|| ||Cold, Cold Heart|
|| ||What A Difference A Day Made|
|| ||Drinking Again|
|| ||Nobody Knows The Way I Feel This Morning|
|| ||Evil Gal Blues|
|| ||Don't Say You're Sorry Again|
|| ||This Bitter Earth|
|| ||If I Should Lose You|
|| ||Lee Cross|
|| ||How Glad I Am|
|| ||Walk On By|
|| ||Every Little Bit Hurts|
|| ||The Shoop Shoop Song (It's In His Kiss)|
|| ||You'll Lose A Good Thing|
|| ||I Can't Wait Until I See My Baby's Face|
|| ||It's Just A Matter Of Time|
|| ||Runnin' Out Of Fools|
|| ||My Guy|
|| ||Two Sides Of Love|
|| ||One Room Paradise|
|| ||Can't You Just See Me (Bonus Track)|
|| ||Little Miss Raggedy Ann (Bonus Track)|
|| ||One Step Ahead (Bonus Track)|
East Anglian Press
Before Miss Franklin became the megastar at Atlantic Records, she was already a veteran recording artist with 10 albums under her belt with Colombia Records. What Edsel have done here is couple her 5th and 6th albums together as a twofer, two albums that were only briefly available on CD and so are virtually making their digital debut. The first of these two long players Unforgettable was released in 1964 just months after the death of Dinah Washington to whom the album pays tribute. Featuring her takes on What A Difference A Day Makes, Unforgettable and This Bitter Earth. The second LP also issued in ’64 also pays tribute to then pop hits such as Every Little Bit Hurts, Walk On By, My Guy, It’s In His Kiss and Mockingbird. There’s no disputing listening to these early 60’s recordings that Colombia really didn’t know just what a talent they had on board.
Soul Up North, Spring 2008
A two albums on one CD release, plus… three bonus tracks… a whopping 26 tracks in all. Unforgettable, as the title may give away, features songs made popular by jazz singer Dinah Washington and you won’t be surprised to hear that the album is also in that laid back jazzy style, but then you have to factor in the amazing vocals of Aretha!! The first eleven tracks might lull you into a mellow mood, but this is followed by the very collectable (on vinyl) album ‘Runnin’ out of Fools’. This is a great compilation of soul songs from the ‘Queen’. She knocked me out with her stunning version of Brenda Holloway’s ‘Every Little Bit Hurts’ and even better on ‘I Can’t Wait To See My Baby’s Face’, where her great vocals are also aided by some lovely backing orchestration. There’s a great beat ballad hidden away too, ‘Two Sides Of Love’… Great stuff! The 12 page booklet includes the original sleevenotes from both 1964 albums along with additional annotation from Bill Denton along with some pleasant graphics. Nice release and you should be checking it out…
Record Collector, May 08
Aretha Franklin recorded 10 albums for John Hammond’s Colombia label, spanning 1960 to ’66, before she teamed with Jerry Wexler at Atlantic and recorded the following year’s seismic LP, I Never Loved A Man (The Way I Love You). While Wexler was able to create a situation where she could be herself – in front of the piano, surrounded by the Alabama Boys – Hammond never quite managed it. Yet, as One Step Ahead reveals in its coupling of 1964’s Unforgettable: A Tribute to Dinah Washington and the same year’s follow up, Runnin’ Out Of Fools, Aretha was already a fine jazz singer capable of emoting covers of Brenda Holloway’s Every Little Bit Hurts, Mable John’s You’ll Lose A Good Thing and Bacharach and David’s Walk On By.
Mojo, June 08
Between 1960 to ’66 Aretha recorded 10 albums for Colombia. The following year she signed to Atlantic and released I Never Loved A Man (The Way I Loved You). By placing her in front of the piano (as Hammond had) but with the Muscle Shoals studio team behind her, Jerry Wexler managed what Hammond never could; he got Aretha to unleash her uninhibited soul. But that’s not to say her Colombia recordings are rubbish, far from it. Unforgettable marks her as an already accomplished jazz performer, although it’s not only on Cold Heart and Drinking Again that she stamps her own bluesy authority. On Runnin’ Out Of Fools, though, she points the way forward with readings of pop-soul hits Walk On By, Every Little Bit Hurts and You’ll Lose A Good Thing, all of which throb with emotion.
Q, May 08
“She wasn’t always the queen of soul”
In 1966, Aretha Franklin found her spiritual home at Atlantic Records, where she developed into the most revered of all female soul singers. Before, while recording for Colombia, she’d struggled to define a style of her own, as illustrated by two albums from 1964 now reissued as One Step Ahead. Unforgettable: A Tribute To Dinah Washington is Franklin’s homage to a jazz heroine, featuring the wickedly materialist Evil Gal Blues, while Runnin’ Out Of Fools has her covering early-‘60s pop-soul, including Walk On By.
Manifesto, April 08
Dammit. It’s just typical that some of Aretha’s back-catalogue should finally get reissued a few weeks after I drove myself crazy trying to get hold of her brilliant ‘I Can’t Wait To See My Baby’s Face’ on CD! Well here it is at last in its full glory along with the whole of ‘Unforgettable: A Tribute To Dinah Washington’ and ‘Runnin’ Out Of Fools’ – two of her early 60s album releases for the Colombia label. Also includes three bonus tracks including the early ‘One Step Ahead’ which gives tantalizing glimpses of the glories to come in the neat future when she would sign with Atlantic records. Much M.O.R in evidence but even so this tasteful package will strike a chord with Aretha completists.
In The Basement, May-July 08
It seems rather amazing that, although Aretha Franklin made ten albums for Columbia before setting the world alight on joining Atlantic Records in 1966, appearances of the on cd in like-for-like format have been minimal. So here Demon’s Edsel label has embarked on the right road by pairing the lady’s fifth and sixth lp releases from 1964 – plus three bonus tracks – and, hopefully, this is just the start of rectifying the omissions. Some folks have suggested that Columbia failed to recognise the talents of the young Aretha, often placing her in the wrong settings but I’m inclined to disagree and I’ll cite to back up my argument the very opening cut here. ‘Unforgettable’ shows just what was to come later and I don’t think anyone sought to stifle her ability to offer up soaring vocals, her interpretation of Hank Williams’ ‘Cold Cold Heart’ bears that out. The whole Dinah Washington ‘tribute’ set is a joy, producer/arranger Robert Mersey not simply opting for sound-alikes but allowing Aretha her head; ‘If I Should Lose You’ is simply perfection. Incidentally, Ted White’s upbeat ‘Lee Cross’ was recorded at the same session but not included on the original album. The ‘Runnin’ Out Of Fools’ album sought to move Aretha into more mainstream soul territory, featuring a number of covers. Produced by Clyde Otis and arranged by Belford Hendricks, particularly noteworthy are the lady’s takes on Nancy Wilson’s #11 pop hit, ‘How Glad I Am’, Brenda Holloway’s top three r&b outing, ‘Every Little Bit Hurts’ and Baby Washington’s ‘I Can’t Wait Until I See My Baby’s Face’. Among the bonus cuts, the perky ‘Little Miss Raggedy Ann’ was penned by Aretha herself, while the delicious ‘One Step Ahead’ (which charted at #18 r&b ‘Billboard’) ventures towards uptown soul.
Trinity Mirror, March 08
Before she signed to Atlantic Records in 1966, undisputed queen of soul Aretha Franklin made 10 albums on the Columbia label, starting in 1961. Of these, Unforgettable was a tribute to Dianah Washington, who had died in December 1963, and was released just a few months after her death. Aretha delivers her unique take on songs made famous by Washington, including What A Difference A Day Made, Drinking Again, and If I Should Lose You. Running Out Of Fools is much more like the Aretha Franklin we came to know and love in later years with fabulous versions of Every Little Bit Hurts and It’s Just A Matter Of Time.
SoulAndJazzFunk.com, April 08
Rumour has it that the Queen of Soul is currently ensconced in the studio putting the finishing touches to 'Aretha: A Woman Falling Out Of Love,' which is slated as the chanteuse's debut album for her new label, Aretha's Records. There was a time, of course, when the prospect of a new Aretha album would send a nerve-jangling frisson of excitement down the necks of soul fans – not any more. The truth is that most soul fans aren't particularly interested in Aretha's future plans – rather, perhaps like me, they find more excitement listening to her old records. Talking of her old records, here's a commendable twofer that presents a couple of her early '60s LPs for Columbia ('Unforgettable' and 'Runnin' Out Of Fools'). The general consensus amongst soul buffs is that Aretha's pre-Atlantic sides are not up to much and that Columbia didn't know how to utilise the singer's talents – the latter is patently true, I think, though the former contention is somewhat dubious, especially after you've given this CD a spin. Sure, there's nothing here to match the incendiary soul majesty of 'Respect' or 'Chain Of Fools' but only a fool would dismiss this music out of hand. 'Unforgettable' is a homage to blues matriarch, Dinah Washington, cut in 1964, with Washington's erstwhile producer, Clyde Otis, at the helm. Aretha was only 22 at the time but you'd never know it from the mature quality of her vocal performances. 'Unforgettable' proves an attractive mixture of jazz, soul, gospel and blues. Interestingly, there's a strident, upbeat, slightly funky, soul tune called 'Lee Cross,' which hints at the direction that 'Re' would take three years later under the aegis of Jerry Wexler at Atlantic (Incidentally, 'Lee Cross' was issued as a 45 after Aretha enjoyed two R&B chart toppers at Atlantic and made the US Top 40 in 1967). 'Runnin' Out Of Fools' was also helmed by Otis, and dates from 1965. It opens with a cover of Inez & Charlie Foxx's 'Mockingbird' and features Aretha doing remakes of '60s soul hits 'Walk On By,' 'Every Little Bit Hurts,' 'My Guy' and 'The Shoop Shoop Song (It's In His Kiss).' I think the album's principal weakness is the rhythm section arrangements – they sound like stock session charts and lack the fire, grit, and funkiness of Aretha's later work. Perhaps, then – as this CD seems to reveal – the key to Aretha's Atlantic success was not solely down to her choice of material, but was also due to the nature of the backing arrangements and quality of the supporting musicians. This commendable CD also includes three non-album bonus cuts: 'Can't You Just See Me,' 'Little Miss Raggedy Ann' and 'One Step Ahead.' Overall, this is an excellent musical snapshot of Aretha Franklin before she hit the big time and I'll bet it's more interesting than her forthcoming album.
Uncut, May 2008
“Pre-Atlantic ‘Retha pays tribute to mentor”
Had she not revolutionised soul music when Atlantic’s Jerry Wexler took her to Muscle Shoals in 1966, the 10 albums Aretha Franklin made for Colombia would be better regarded. These two, from August and December 1964 respectively, attest to Franklin’s intensive work rate. Tackling songs made famous by the then recently deceased Washington, Franklin’s verve, intuition and natural passion come shinning through. While vocally accomplished, the follow-up’s arrangements of soul and R‘n’B favourites only underlines Colombia’s cluelessness in failing to recognise Franklin’s majestic potential.