As is well known, early relationships are not always blessed, and it's certainly no secret that the collaboration between Aretha Franklin and Columbia's record producer John H. Hammond did not last long. Hammond's later attempts to candy Franklin's irrepressible natural voice with sugary arrangements and studio gimmicks did not go down well with the public.
On Aretha's first LP for Columbia in 1961, however, the relationship was still in its honeymoon stages all the way. With a successful mix of pop and jazz standards, the super talent – Aretha had just turned 18 years old – showcased her unrivaled instrument for all to experience. Fired on with youthful élan, these evergreens sound so fresh, new and intoxicating that the question of their genre is quite irrelevant.
From seesawing R&B ("Won't Be Long") via bell-like waves of melody ("Over The Rainbow") right up to the freely styled, jazzy Gershwin classic "It Ain't Necessarily So" – everything is right there! The Ray Bryant Trio – augmented with winds – proves itself a formidable ensemble with true presence yet unobtrusive accompaniment. This recording makes it crystal clear that the 'First Lady of Soul' was in full command of her profession right out of the gate regardless of what label she was working for.
This Speakers Corner 180g vinyl reissue was remastered using pure analogue components only, from the master tapes through to the cutting head.