All posts tagged: Aretha Franklin

DVD Review: Aretha Franklin, “The Best of Aretha Franklin” (Quadraphonic Mix)

Pity poor Rhino Entertainment, and their vaults bursting with classic tracks from excessively anthologized artists. Take Aretha Franklin, for instance: she has more compilations to her credit than most artists have albums of original material, and the songs Rhino has easy access to — her classic Atlantic sides — have been reissued most of all. So what’s a label to do? In Rhino’s case, the answer is “get creative” — and that’s just what they’ve done with this beautiful rescue of the long-out-of-print The Best of Aretha Franklin. “What do you mean, ‘out of print’?” you might be saying. “There are plenty of Best of Aretha Franklins out there, and most of them have more than this set’s piddling 12 tracks. Who cares about an Aretha best-of from 1973?” To which I respond, “You care. At least, you do if you’re set up for surround sound. And if you aren’t, you might want to buy some new speakers, because this is that good.” The back story on this title, as longtime Aretha fans may recall, …

TV Review: “Sam Cooke: Crossing Over” American Masters (PBS)

Maybe it’s because I’ve read Peter Guralnick’s comprehensive 2005 Sam Cooke biography Dream Boogie: The Triumph of Sam Cooke that the newest entry in the generally wonderful PBS series American Masters, Sam Cooke – Crossing Over, which debuts on PBS tonight, seems a little bit skimpy to me. An hour simply is not enough to tell the story of one of America’s greatest musical lives. The basic facts of Sam Cooke’s life are by now pretty well known. His father was a preacher at the First Baptist Church in Chicago Heights, and by the age of 17 Cooke became the lead singer for one of gospel’s greatest groups, the Soul Stirrers. Seeking a larger audience, he left the world of gospel music to become one of the world’s biggest pop stars. The road was anything but smooth. He escaped a terrible car accident while on tour in 1958 with minor injuries, while bandmate Lou Rawls was badly hurt, and his chauffeur was killed. His ex-wife was killed in another accident while driving a car that …