Saturday, September 1, 2018
Aretha, Sing One for Me
Aretha had a send off fit for a queen, although one has to wonder about some of the political figures on hand for her memorial service. It would have been nice to avoid this kind of representation all together, but there was Bill Clinton, Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson and Louis Farrakhan moving in and out of the background as performers gave their soulful tributes to the Queen of Soul. Their presence served as a distraction more than anything else, as this is what was commented upon most in social media.
For me the high point was when Shirley Caesar came to the pulpit, breaking into song at the 3:45 minute mark of this video clip. She was joined by Tasha Cobbs on a rousing version of "How I Got Over." The other songs were hit and miss, as you can expect at such a gathering. Jennifer Hudson appeared to be trying too hard on Amazing Grace, and Chaka Khan gave a rather subdued albeit heartfelt performance of "Going Up Yonder."
CNN moved from hers to McCain's memorial throughout their coverage. BBC had a few clips. Euronews only passing reference. So, one has to look on line for a broader survey of Aretha's grand send off, which lasted more than five hours at the New Bethel Baptist Church in Detroit, or Motown as it was known for many years.
There's no doubt memories of Aretha will last far longer than they will for John McCain, as very few persons touched the soul of the country the way she did. She has a musical legacy that stretches back 60 years before she first appeared on Columbia records in 1961, after switching from gospel to soul music. She had recorded songs earlier with JVB Records for an album entitled Spirituals, which were later released on Checker, after she shot to fame in the mid 60s.
Perhaps one of the greatest tributes to Aretha was this song by George Jackson, Aretha, Sing One for Me, he sang back in 1972. A lovely song that emotionally shows how easily she touched all our lives.
She had an erratic career to say the least, but so many memorable performances along the way that you forget about all the rough patches. She resurfaced in the 1970s cult movie, The Blue Brothers, along with Cab Calloway and other musical legends. Here is her wonderful cameo in the movie. She had a way of stealing the show wherever she pitched up.
Hard to believe this stunning performance of A Natural Woman was only three years ago. She not only never lost her soul. She never lost her voice. You will be missed, Aretha, deeply, truly, madly!