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How to Buy Aretha Franklin

Fred Dellar, MOJO, July 1997

DURING 1956, a 14-year-old Aretha, daughter of gospel superstar the Reverend C.L. Franklin, sang and played piano before an enthusiastic congregation at her father's new Bethel's Baptist church in Detroit. The result, as recorded by Joe Von Battle, a local record store owner, was one of the most remarkable and atmospheric series of gospel recordings ever. Eventually released in album form by Chess as Songs Of Faith, it is currently available on MCA/Chess as Aretha Gospel and is your starter for one. According to Smokey Robinson: "When Aretha was a child she could go to the piano and play nearly like she plays it now. None of the rest of us could just go sit down and play the piano and sing like that."

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