Aretha, favorite recordings?

Aretha Franklin. Folks, my "best of" CD just doesn't sound as good on my "real" stereo as it did in the old boom box days.

Best recordings? Both in terms of Aretha kicking b*tt, and in terms of good sound (I'm not talking audiophile here, just want a less-than-muted voice. Vinyl or CD, either one.

What is the rumor of a gospel album? Has anyone heard it?

I'm expecting thoughts to lean towards older music, but I am willing to be suprised!


- Eric
Great responses, thanks guys and gals. Keep them coming if there are more out there.

I remember seeing the Blues Brothers movie back when it first came out in the seventies and Aretha played a waitress in a luncheonette. I had no idea who she was. She ripped into "Think", and when it was done (I admit I had never heard the song before!) I said "Oh lord, who was that!?". The credits enlightened me. Been listening ever since.

Thanks again...

- Eric
As my system improved I hoped  to hear a better Aretha. Not to diminish her power or her talent, the recordings seemed harsh and brittle. Speaking to an audio guru about this topic, he claimed that the mikes at the time couldn’t handle the power of her voice. I still get a thrill out of I Say A Little Prayer and Ain’t No Way. I hope there is a way to remaster so that her higher ends don’t seem as harsh. 
I just picked up the mobile fidelity version of aretha’s gold.  I usually shy away from greatest hits albums,  but I made an exception for this one. Excellent track list.  I didn’t listen super critically, but my take away was that the vinyl  and remastering are of good quality, perhaps the actual recordings are more about average.

Jerry Wexler produced Aretha's best-known Atlantic albums, and Tom Dowd engineered them. Tom was an old-school WWII generation engineer, not an one with "audiophile" concerns. He recorded pretty "hot" (pushing the meters into the red), sometimes too much so.

But whatever the sound, the songs, her singing, and the musical accompaniment (provided by the best studio band in the world, The Swampers) are just magnificent. If you are listening to her singing those songs while that band is playing behind her, and you're thinking about the sound quality of the recording, best check your pulse. ;-)