The Essential Aretha Franklin - The Columbia Years (2CD)


This two-disc, 40-track anthology collects the key tracks from Aretha Franklin's stay with Columbia Records in the early '60s (1960 – 1965), and they catch the young singer and pianist in her first secular pop recordings - they're not quite soul and they're not gospel and most of them fall to the jazz-pop side of things.

Franklin was already too good a singer (and pianist) not to catch fire in a few of these selections, most notably Lee Cross, where she lets in some gospel fervor, the elegant Trouble in Mind, the romping Soulville, and an almost majestic Try a Little Tenderness, complete with lush strings, but the sheer emotional power of Franklin's voice feels held in check on most of these tracks.


1. Nobody Like You
2. Once in a While
3. Maybe I'm a Fool
4. Muddy Water
5. Bill Bailey, Won't You Please Come Home? (Alternate Version)
6. Hard Times (No One Knows Better Than I)
7. Today I Sing the Blues
8. Won't Be Long
9. Nobody Knows the Way I Feel this Morning
10. Evil Gal Blues
11. Lee Cross
12. Walk on By
13. I Wonder (Where are You Tonight)
14. God Bless the Child
15. Blue Holiday
16. Looking Through a Tear
17. Tiny Sparrow
18. Here Today and Gone Tomorrow
19. Little Brown Book
20. Without the One You Love
21. This Bitter Earth
22. Just for a Thrill
23. Skylark
24. Skylark (Alternate Version)
25. Trouble in Mind
26. Runnin' Out of Fools
27. Drinking Again
28. Laughing on the Outside
29. What a Diff'rence a Day Makes
30. Soulville
31. You'll Lose a Good Thing
32. Take a Look
33. Cry Like a Baby
34. I Wish I Didn't Love You So
35. Only the Lonely
36. People (From Funny Girl)
37. Mockingbird
38. Until You Were Gone
39. My Coloring Book
40. Try a Little Tenderness