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4.4 out of 5 stars
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34 of 35 people found the following review helpful
on March 20, 2004
Format: Audio CD
Although a hit-and-miss quality may have come later, frankly, no album by Aretha Franklin originally released between 1967 and 1974 was a weak one. The "Spirit In The Dark" LP, Atlantic 8265, arrived smack-center in that golden zone on August 24, 1970. I distinctly remember her introducing "Don't Play That Song," which came out as a 45 (Atlantic 2751) on July 20th, on the Johnny Carson show. Then it was hurry as fast as one could to a record store - you didn't dawdle once you knew she had a new one. Put on this song (and maybe Bread's "Make It With You") and it's the summer of '70 again. Oh, how good it sounded starting up on the car radio!
Much as she did with Otis Redding's "Respect," she here takes B.B. King's "The Thrill Is Gone" and makes a lasting personal imprint yet again. Best with headphones on, where it's just you and her voice and magnificent piano work, with all other distractions locked out. "Spirit In The Dark" (which, along with "Thrill," was another single, Atlantic 2731, 5/7/70) is one of the best examples of gospel-meets-secular in Aretha's catalog. Fully five of Aretha's own compositions are contained here - the most she put on a single album. Among these, both "Pullin'" and "You And Me" also saw release as B-sides on singles.
For me, the great jewel in this one was and still is Gerry Goffin & Carole King's "Oh No Not My Baby." A happy song, with everyone warning Aretha that the guy's no good, but she triumphs in the end: "Yesterday he gave me a ring..." Listening to Franklin's jubilant delivery, one can't help mentally listing other items from the Goffin-King songbook we could wish Aretha had also interpreted. (Imagine the serious warning she might have delivered on "Keep Your Hands Off My Baby'"!)
This one won't fail you, folks. Like all others from this period, Aretha's work was mistake-proof. And to whom it may concern: as I've stated elsewhere in the case of Berry Gordy Jr., isn't it high time Miss Franklin received the accolade of the Kennedy Center Honors?
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on September 3, 2000
Format: Audio CD
There are three reasons this disc gets the high five rating: 'The Thrill is Gone', 'Try Matty's' and 'Why I Sing the Blues' ! I always felt this was an under-appreciated effort by Aretha. Aretha's piano work is forever as distinctive as is Ray Charles', and 'Try Matty's', besides being SUCH an Aretha song!, is transported by the glistening piano work she pulls off! This is one of the best of Ahmet Ertegun's almost mystical collaborations with this Genius! 'Why I Sing the Blues' with its compound rhythms and that un-bottled phrase "Lookit! I brought this talent back - move over and give it some!" is both a political anthem and one of the most sophisticated pieces of pop around. Aretha is a rare force of nature and this disc smokes like a hurricane! Get it!
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on December 11, 2005
Format: Audio CD
This is definately an overlooked Aretha Franklin album. While it's not her best of her Atlantic albums, it still holds it's own and is very consistent. Some really inspired cover song choices, the best being her version of "Oh No Not My Baby". This album features the most of her own compositions, 5 in total. She sounds refreshed and overall it's an enjoyable album start to finish.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on December 6, 2005
Format: Audio CD
Listen this is a great album. Aretha plays piano on each tune which in itself is a treat. Side One is a jewel...I have 2000 records and I come back to this one alot. I actually have it on vinyl and came here to buy it for a friend.

The band is so in the pocket...if you are a musician trying to feel it...this is a good teacher.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on June 30, 2005
Format: Audio CD
This is a nice album from Aretha's early career. It includes two hit singles including the title track and "Don't Play That Song". This album also contains quite a few songs that she wrote herself, 5 in total. Some interesting cover choices from Jimmy Reed to B.B. King, also a great cover of "Oh No Not My Baby". Her voice is in top form. Overall a great R&B soul album from the Queen!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on November 12, 2009
Format: Audio CD
The Queen Of Soul indeed. This album rolls along like thunder in the hills.
She makes Whitney and Mariah sound like Tom Waits wheezing into a paper bag.
All Aretha's Atlantic albums are essential. Every home should have them.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on November 13, 2007
Format: Audio CDVerified Purchase
By this time EVERYBODY knew what to expect from Aretha, and this project was no different from her past Atlantic albums which included Her Originals and Her Legendary Cover Versions!. It had gotten to the point Artists' was hoping she (Aretha) DID NOT record their songs, because by the time she'd put her 'touch' to them...It was all over, but the shouting! The "Spirit In The Dark" Album generated a total of 4 (Four) Billboard Charting Singles! The Billboard #3 Hit Single "Spirit
In The Dark", it's B-Side which 'Tagged' along for an 8 (Eight) week Billboard Chart Single run "The Thrill Is Gone", the Gold Billboard #1 Hit Single "Don't Play That Song", and Billboard #5 Hit Single "You And Me", along with Album Favorites: "Try Matty's", and "That's All I Want From You". This album too was another SMASH Album! And as always we wanted for the next Aretha Franklin Album.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on March 15, 2002
Format: Audio CD
Aretha's swingingest studio session of the '70s, with tributes to Ben E. King, Carole King, B.B. King and Jimmy Reed, and an all-star cast highlighted by Duane Allman's lower-register guitar part on Dr. John's "When This Battle Is Over." If there are any sceptics left, she proved it all here. Ask the experts. Superlatives cannot do this album justice. It's really that good. Not to underrate "Money Won't Change You" or "The Old Landmark" or "Til You Say You Love Me," but still. Amaze your friends.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on June 14, 2011
Format: Audio CD
I believe this is Aretha's more consistent album ever. Her musical genius shines through on her inspired piano playing and her amazing voice displays incredible depht and emotion without sounding overbearing.Her compositions rank among her best ever. Spirit in the Dark is for me a showcase for Aretha's essence as a singer.I've listened to this music almost on a daily basis and never cease to be uplifted by this woman's inredible power.OHHHHH I feel the Spirit!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on August 2, 1999
Format: Audio CD
Simply one of the best albums she put out during her early 1970's peak. If you haven't heard her do That's Why I Sing the Blues and The Thrill is Gone, you ain't heard real soul singing. Big plus on this album is that Aretha plays the keyboards on almost all the cuts
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