It's extremely rare when you can point to any singer and say at that time, that singer is the best ever in his or her field. You can do that with Aretha Franklin with the January, 1968 release of her seminal album, Lady Soul. It's true that Lady Soul contained three of Aretha Franklin's biggest hits of all time, Chain Of Fools, (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman, and (Sweet Sweet Baby) Since You Been Gone. However, her masterpiece on Lady Soul wasn't any of the three big hits, great as they were.
This is not to bash Etta James, Sam Cooke, Ray Charles, or any other great soul singer, but Aretha Franklin on her co-written Good To Me As I Am To You, with help from a young Eric Clapton and stellar saxophonist King Curtis, took soul music to a place it hadn't been before January of '68. You might not be familiar with this song, but listen, and you will hear the finest soul singer of her time. The album title, Lady Soul, is an understatement in this case. @therealdonrocks
I Say a Little Prayer
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