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I Never Loved a Man the Way I Love You: Aretha Franklin, Respect, and the Making of a Soul Music Masterpiece Paperback – Bargain Price, January 24, 2006

3.6 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Among the greatest singing voices ever recorded, Aretha Franklin's is so distinctive that the fact that the album that made her a star was her tenth is just dumbfounding. She essayed jazz singing for seven years under the sympathetic auspices of John Hammond, rediscoverer of Bessie Smith, discoverer of Billie Holiday, and organizer of the seminal Carnegie Hall "From Spirituals to Swing" concerts, but despite a fine first album, she had no hits. Then Atlantic Records' Jerry Wexler signed her, married her to the fine rhythm section--all twentysomething self-described rednecks--at Fame recording studio in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, and ba-whommm! Dobkin gets seemingly every living soul responsible for Franklin's epoch-making album (save Aretha herself) to impart his or her perspective on its making. This involves much more than a track-by-track account of the recording sessions. Dobkin exuberantly, but never quite gushingly, relates Franklin's earlier life, other involvements, and the civil rights impact, for women as well as blacks, of the album's biggest hit, "Respect." A standout in the current crowd of classic-album histories. Ray Olson
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"An enlightening window on the creative process." --Publishers Weekly
 
“The book effectively explains why her [Aretha’s] release on the great 60’s R&B label was a definitive move for the singer.” --American Songwriter Magazine

“A standout in the current crowd of classic-album histories.” --Booklist
 
"...a fascinating reconstruction...an illuminating narrative that includes short biographies of all the albums major participants." -- Muze
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin (January 24, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312318294
  • ASIN: B00127OHMC
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.7 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #9,803,180 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Just read this after finding it in the library. The book is mostly about the recording of Aretha Franklin's "I Never Loved A Man" single and album. I love hearing the details about recording and music. The author has interviewed several of the original musicians, Jerry Wexler and even Ted White (Franklin's ex-husband).

The book doesn't try to make anyone out to be totally bad. I was impressed by the author's take on Ted White, not totally making him out to be the evil guy everyone said he was. I'm not saying he was perfect, just human with flaws.

There is a chapter on the so-called trouble that went along with the session. Just about everyone has had their say on what happened almost 40 years ago. The author wisely collects several different accounts and doesn't try to definitively define what happened.

I wish more people would write books about the music, rather than deal with the tabloid details of an artist's life. I understand that a person's personal life is woven into their life as an artist and I believe that the author balanaces out both in discussing Aretha Franklin, her life and music.

I thought is was very interesting to read about Franklin's musical influences. If you have never listened to Dinah Washington, you should check her out and hear how she influenced Aretha Franklin.

For music fans, this is a good read. Let's have more books like this regarding Motown and other soul music!
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Format: Hardcover
If there is anything that remains constant in my life, it is knowing that Aretha Franklin is a sister spirit and that her voice can help to calm me in the most torrential times. It seems that when I listen to Aretha she is speaking directly to me, telling me she knows what I am going through and that everything will turn out fine. Matt Dobkin revisits the recording of a 1967 album that shot Aretha Franklin to the highest level of stardom and changed the voice of soul music forever and changed my life forever.

I NEVER LOVED A MAN THE WAY I LOVE YOU is not just a biography. Instead, it is a detailed analysis of Aretha's rise to superstardom and the recording sessions during what some would argue is Aretha's finest hour. Dobkin interviewed many of the direct participants of the recording of I Never Loved a Man The Way I Love You to inject the history needed to make telling this story a success. However, he also included thoughts from the great poet Nikki Giovanni (her descriptions of both Aretha's presence and the tumultuous era in question were remarkable) and other contemporaries of the Queen of Soul for added context.

The album, I Never Loved a Man The Way I Love You, included such cuts as "Do Right Woman," "Save Me," "Dr. Feelgood," (one of my favorite Aretha songs) and the female anthem, "Respect," an Otis Redding song that Aretha covered and made her own. But, as Dobkin seems to relay, one of the most important aspects of this recording was that it was interracial; most of the musicians on the album were young white men from Muscle Shoals, Alabama or neighboring cities. Dobkin also notes that the musical process that was utilized on this album (Aretha at the piano, leading the show) would become her M.O. for making music from that day forward.
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Format: Paperback
"I Never Loved a Man" is a music journalist's take on Aretha Franklin's groundbreaking album. Dobkin comes from a background in opera writing, and he writes with great appreciation and sensitivity about the music. You can tell that he enjoys listening to the music and trying to conquer the challenging task of describing tones with prose. He also interviews some of the key figures in the story such as Jerry Wexler of Atlantic Records, Aretha's ex-husband, Ahmet Ertegun, and many of the key performers on the album. He takes an informal tone at times with his interviewees and tries to go beyond reporting their reflections on the album and treating them as characters in themselves. Those interested in Jerry Wexler, the executive at Atlantic who produced the sessions, will gain from his perspective and the musicians' responses to hearing about Jerry Wexler.

I do differ with some of this author's interpretations. He seems to feel that Muscle Shoals' FAME Studios was a critical part of this album's sound. Dobson takes great pains early on in the book to stress the "three white men" who played important roles in making this music happen. In many cases, such as Wilson Pickett's work for Atlantic, Muscle Shoals and its integrated country influenced soul did provided a core studio sound. Yes, the musicians added key riffs to the tunes. Reading into some of the details of this book, however, we see that in many ways Aretha and her husband were key catalysts in radically altering the relationship between Jerry Wexler's Atlantic Records and FAME Studios. Dobkin does a good job of talking about "the incident" where the racial tensions between an all-white studio band and a redneck trumpet player lead to conflict and a fight with Aretha's husband.
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Format: Hardcover
This book focuses on the career-making debut album of Aretha Franklin on Atlantic Records. A fascinating glimpse at the first-recorded track for the album, the title track, takes the reader back into a point in time when our country was on the verge of a musical revolution, never to look back. Pop music historians will savor the exquisite detail afforded the description of this initial music session held in Mussel Shoals, Alabama, and then travel to Atlantic's New York Studios, under the watchful and supportive producer Jerry Wexler, for one of the Queen of Soul's most relevant sessions of her pioneering career. All of the chemistry is present in the production of this album, which tells the story of musical magic coming to life. A very engaging read!
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