Aretha Franklin & King Curtis

Aretha Franklin & King Curtis Live at the Fillmore West:Don't Fight the Feeling (Rhino Handmade)

Reissues

Aretha Franklin & King Curtis

Live at Fillmore West: Don't Fight the Feeling (Rhino Handmade)

Juggernauts from NYC's Antibalas Afrobeat Orchestra to Austin's Grupo Fantasma suggest our era is ripe for a revival of the great soul revues of the Sixties and Seventies. Originally released as two LPs – a Gold record for the Queen of Soul and highest charter for her backing bandleader – Aretha Franklin & King Curtis Live at Fillmore West: Don't Fight the Feeling has been restored into a 4-CD box set clocking in at more than five hours. Two-thirds of its 61 tracks are previously unreleased, meaning all three performances at San Francisco's musical Shangri-La, March 5, 6, 7, 1971, are here in all their boogie wonderland glory. Practically speaking, that's the almost exact same set list refined over three nights, which is why Don't Fight the Feeling cuts loose out of Rhino's boutique, Internet-only imprint, www.rhinohandmade.com. Historically speaking, that's Fort Worth tenor saxophonist "King" Curtis Ousley, murdered six months later, opening by backing the Memphis Horns on "Knock on Wood," followed by a Fillmore-pleasing cover of the day, Led Zeppelin's "Whole Lotta Love." Curtis' melody on Procol Harum's "A Whiter Shade of Pale" and Jerry Jeff Walker's "Mr. Bojangles" are poignant. In comes Aretha, double-time on "Respect," with the Sweethearts of Soul, two of her cousins teamed with a third vocalist. "We're gonna ask you to do just one thing for us," announces Franklin, "that is relax, and let us use your soul for a minute." About 60 minutes, actually, singers and band in full groove by the next song, Franklin's "Call Me," followed by a slew of covers, including a sanctified version of "Bridge Over Troubled Water," the Ponying "Eleanor Rigby," and a reading of David Gates' "Make It With You" that nearly validates the song. Franklin's call for the blues summons "Dr. Feelgood." Next night feels better, and of course the third and last show is the third-alarm charm, the entire revue at its most relaxed and satisfying. Ray Charles, trying to be "inconspicuous" in the back of the hall, according to thorough liner notes from David Nathan, appears for a 20-minute reprise of "Spirit in the Dark," which is 85% groove and 4% Charles. That's still 200% missed.

***

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