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  • Aretha Live at Fillmore West
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Aretha Live at Fillmore West Live, Original recording reissued, Original recording remastered


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Audio CD, Live, Original recording reissued, December 14, 1993
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“There are singers,” said Ray Charles, “then there is Aretha. She towers above the rest. Others are good, but Aretha is great. She’s my only sure-enough sister.”

Since the moment Aretha stepped to the pulpit at her father’s famed New Bethel Baptist Church as a young girl singing in the great gospel tradition, the world has recognized her as a musical ... Read more in Amazon's Aretha Franklin Store

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (December 14, 1993)
  • Original Release Date: 1971
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Live, Original recording reissued, Original recording remastered
  • Label: Atlantic
  • ASIN: B00000335L
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #44,633 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Respect
2. Love The One You're With
3. Bridge Over Troubled Water
4. Eleanor Rigby
5. Make It With You
6. Don't Play That Song
7. Dr. Feelgood
8. Spirit In The Dark
9. Spirit In The Dark (Reprise With Ray Charles)
10. Reach Out And Touch (Somebody's Hand)

Editorial Reviews

The 1971 live album that proved to be Aretha's crossover hit!

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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See all 40 customer reviews
The female backup vocals on "Spirit In The Dark" enhance the beauty of this song.
Matthew G. Sherwin
Love the flow between "Dr. Feelgood" (with a nice touch from the horns), Spirit in the Dark (both versions are good except for that duet by Ray Charles is bangin!
Henry Cooper
Aretha has simply helped herself to arguably the best musicians available - a virtual who's who of the r&b world.
Pedro G. Valdes

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

36 of 36 people found the following review helpful By John Stodder on August 14, 2004
Format: Audio CD
This great album from 1971 reminds me of Elvis Presley's "On Stage February, 1970." What these disks have in common is rather than focusing on their own hits, Aretha and Elvis perform songs that were popular at the time, and almost regardless of the quality of the original, turn them into classics, purely by application of their unique artistry.

From Aretha's catalogue, this album features a zippy version of "Respect" that shows off the band; a sensual version of "Dr. Feelgood"; her hit at that time, "Don't Play That Song"; and an extended version (featuring Ray Charles!) of "Spirit in the Dark" that is soul royalty personified. The rest of the disk comprises versions of the treacly Bread song "Make it With You," the silly Stephen Stills song, "Love the One You're With," the Diana Ross diva exercise "Reach Out and Touch Somebody's Hand," and the classic Beatles and Simon and Garfunkel songs, "Eleanor Rigby" and "Bridge Over Troubled Water."

These covers are all genius. The lesser songs like "Make it With You," are lavished with the best that Lady Soul has to offer. She treats these dumb tunes as if they were revelations of the inner workings of the human soul--and in Aretha's hands they are. Meanwhile, she completely reconcieves the great McCartney and Simon tunes, making the original versions sound like underachievers by comparison--which is really saying something since these are two of the classic productions of the 60s.

The difference is the singing. God gave Aretha a voice that is possessed with all the power, pain and pleasure of the entire human experience. A simple, banal statement like "I want to make it with you," in her voice becomes the embodiment of a basic human urge to love.
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By "gemini_j" on November 3, 2001
Format: Audio CD
When Aretha Franklin recorded 1971's LIVE AT FILLMORE WEST, she was backed by a group of veteran session musicians on a mix that included interpretations of popular songs and some of her trademark numbers. Franklin makes Stephen Stills' "Love The One You're With" her own with the help of Billy Preston's joyous organ work, while Bread's saccharine "Make It With You" is injected with a healthy shot of sexy sassiness.
Franklin's underrated piano playing and a healthy display of her gospel roots make FILLMORE a special recording in Lady Soul's vast canon. Franklin's skill on the eighty-eights particularly shines on her swinging treatment of the Beatles' "Eleanor Rigby" and the jubilant "Don't Play That Song." Franklin also plays electric piano on "Dr. Feelgood," and from this point on she turns Bill Graham's hall into a Baptist church. The call-and-response of her background singers and King Curtis' skillful band-leading/saxophone playing lead up to the high point where she brings Ray Charles out for the reprise of the testimonial "Spirit In The Dark" followed by the uplifting "Reach Out And Touch (Somebody's Hand)."
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Morgan Broman on July 11, 2006
Format: Audio CD
Bill Graham was a master at creating an atmosphere at the Fillmore West that brought out the best in both an artist and an audience. Case in point: Aretha Franklin's 1971 concerts in which she showed the world again what an incredible singer she was (and still is in 2006). "Live at the Fillmore West" is just a crackling great show from start to finish. The Top-40 hits may have slowed down for Aretha in 1971, but her live performances were at their peak. This reissue adds a second disc of full performances and they are all keepers. Across 35 years you can still hear how she holds the audience in her hands and brings them on an emotional journey that owes much to her gospel roots. "Love the One You're With," "Dr. Feelgood," and even Bread's "Make it With You," get the full Franklin treatment. Her voice was never better. Things rise to a spectacular climax with the addition of Ray Charles on "Spirit in the Dark." Oh to have been there.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Eric V. Moye on April 3, 2000
Format: Audio CD
What a live album ought to be. Great performances by the Queen and her courtiers (and what a group she assembled: Ray Charles, Billy Preston and the late great King Curtis (in his last recording).
One of the few live albums to capture the spirit of the performance. When she and Ray Charles cut loose on an extended "Spirit in the Dark", she burns down the Filmore West!
A must have.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Thomas D. Ryan on July 28, 2006
Format: Audio CD
"Hey Nineteen, that's `Retha Franklin.
She don't remember the "Queen of Soul".
Steely Dan wrote those words over twenty-five years ago, less than a decade after "Live at Fillmore West" first appeared. If these words held true then, then they must be even more so now (chances are good that today's 19-year olds don't remember Steely Dan either...). Re-released with unedited tracks and an extra disk, it now provides a golden opportunity for subsequent generations to get a taste of what soul music sounded like back when they were `keeping it real'.
During a raucous run-through of "Respect," Aretha introduces herself to the audience, stating, "I promise... you will have enjoyed this show as much as any that you've ever had an occasion to see." Three songs later, as I sat listening to her rather bizarre reading of "Eleanor Rigby," I had my doubts about that statement. By disk's end, though, I had to admit that she held true to her promise. "Live at Fillmore West" emphasizes the gospel influences of Aretha's music, with rave-ups and free form rhythmic workouts that hold you in their spell until the last song fades away. Even when the material slackens, the musicianship bolsters the pace of the show; Talk about your dream bands, the musicians supporting Aretha are all top-notch. King Curtis is bandleader, with Cornell Dupree on guitar, Bernard Purdie on drums, Billy Preston on organ, and the Memphis horns fleshing out the arrangements.
The contents of this 2-cd set were recorded March5-7, 1971, at a time when Aretha experienced an artistic resurgence that crossed cultural barriers. Most of her hit material from this era was derived from imaginative and often drastic re-workings of contemporary hits, and this mindset is exactly what provides the lion's share of material for this set.
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