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Soul Kaleidoscope: Aretha at the Fillmore

Michael Lydon, Ramparts, October 1971

IT WAS A night of nights. Even Tower of Power was okay, and then King Curtis and his Kingpins and the Memphis Horns and Billy Preston, and after that, Aretha Franklin for an hour and a half, and then if your soul can stand it, Ray Charles and Aretha, and all of the above on one stage gathered, rocking, reeling, rolling, and tumbling with the dark spirit of music. It was Sunday, March 7, 1971, the excited eve of the Ali-Frazier fight, at the Fillmore West in San Francisco. The moment was recorded forever on inch-wide magnetic tape and is available on disc on the Atlantic label (a division of Kinney Services Inc.) as Aretha Franklin's latest LP release. I need not try to describe it; in any case, it happened simply.

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