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Aretha Franklin - Amazing Grace: The Complete Recordings Click here to see this CD at Amazon.com!

By Mike McGonigal

This Rhino re-release of Amazing Grace is at least as much a work of love as of marketing. The sound is beefier and clearer, but most importantly, the two-day church sessions are included. So, there's much more church (specifically, Reverend James Cleveland's marvelous orating) on the record, as well as contemporaryisms such as a cool organ rendition of George Harrison's "My Sweet Lord." Originally released as a double LP in 1972, Amazing Grace cracked the Billboard Top 10 on its release, making it one of the best selling gospel records of all time. Grace was recorded in a large Baptist church with an ultraenthusiastic audience in the pews, a full, funky band, and the Southern California Community Choir under the direction of Franklin's mentor, Cleveland. Her voice is melismatic and intensely emotional, yet pure and controlled, as if she is channeling the Holy Ghost. Franklin's father, the brilliant preacher Reverend C.L. Franklin, makes a brief, proud appearance, remarking, "She has never left the church!" Other highlights include the beautiful "Wholy Holy," an 11-minute, heart-stopping "Amazing Grace," and Inez Andrews's stirring "Mary, Don't You Weep." Way more than a return-to-the-roots record, this set is an inspired gospel-soul workout that arguably showcases Franklin's strongest singing ever.

Tracks
1. Organ Introduction (On Our Way) -15. Give Yourself to Jesus
2. Opening Remarks - Rev. James Cleveland16. Organ Introduction (On Our Way)/Opening Remarks - Rev. James Cleveland
3. On Our Way -17. On Our Way - Southern California Community Choir
4. Aretha's Introduction - Rev. James Cleveland18. Aretha's Introduction - Rev. James Cleveland
5. Wholy Holy19. What a Friend We Have in Jesus
6. You'll Never Walk Alone20. Wholy Holy
7. What a Friend We Have in Jesus21. Climbing Higher Mountains
8. Precious Memories - Rev. James Cleveland22. God Will Take Care of You
9. How I Got Over23. Old Landmark
10. Precious Lord (Take My Hand)24. Mary Don't You Weep
11. You've Got a Friend25. Never Grow Old
12. Climbing Higher Mountains26. Remarks by Rev. C.L. Franklin
13. Amazing Grace27. Precious Memories - Rev. James Cleveland
14. My Sweet Lord [Instrumental]28. My Sweet Lord [Instrumental]

 

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"This is one of the all time best gospel albums that have came out within the past 30 years and by it being sung by the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin who have never left her gospel roots. My favorite song on the album is Mary Don't you Weep."

--Talmo123

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MUSICAL NOTES

Artist: Aretha Franklin

Released: May 3, 1972

Availability: CD, Vinyl

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