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Career-spanning Aretha Franklin box set, featuring rarities, demos and live tracks, due in November

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Rhino

A new career-spanning Aretha Franklin box set, simply titled Aretha, will be released on November 20 digitally and as a four-CD collection.

The compilation features 81 remastered tracks, 19 of which have never been released either on CD or digitally.  They include alternate renditions of some of the late Queen of Soul’s classic hits, plus demos, rarities and live performances.

Aretha is mostly arranged in chronological order, and begins with the two gospel songs that appeared on her 1956 debut single: “Never Grow Old” and “You Grow Closer.”

The box set also features 10 tracks dating from Franklin’s 1960-1966 tenure with Columbia Records, but the bulk of the box set is dedicated to her years with Atlantic Records, spanning from 1967 to 1979.

Among those tracks are 1966 home demos of “My Kind of Town (Detroit Is)” and “Try a Little Tenderness,” which she submitted to Atlantic producer Jerry Wexler to give him an idea about the material she might record for her first album for the label.

Aretha also features alternate takes of “Chain of Fools,” “Rock Steady” and “Spanish Harlem,” and her version of “Think” from The Blues Brothers soundtrack.

In addition, the compilation boasts a variety of duets, including a rendition of “Ooo Baby Baby” sung with Smokey Robinson from a 1970 episode of Soul Train; Aretha’s hit collaboration with Eurythmics, “Sisters Are Doin’ It for Themselves”; and her chart-topping duet with George Michael, “I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me).”

The box set, which can be pre-ordered now, closes with Aretha’s performance of “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman” from the 2015 Kennedy Center Honors salute to Carole King.

Aretha also will be available as a 20-track CD or two-LP set.

Here’s the Aretha box set’s track list:

Disc One
“Never Grow Old”
“You Grow Closer”
“Today I Sing the Blues”
“Won’t Be Long”
“Are You Sure”
“Operation Heartbreak”
“Skylark”
“Runnin’ Out of Fools”
“One Step Ahead”
“(No, No) I’m Losing You”
“Cry Like a Baby”
“A Little Bit of Soul”
“My Kind of Town (Detroit Is)” (Demo)*
“Try a Little Tenderness” (Demo)*
“I Never Loved a Man (The Way I Love You)”
“Do Right Woman – Do Right Man”
“Respect”
“A Change Is Gonna Come”
“Chain Of Fools” (Alternate Version)
“(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” (U.K. Single Version)
“(Sweet Sweet Baby) Since You’ve Been Gone”
“Ain’t No Way”
“My Song”
“You Send Me”
“The House That Jack Built”
“Tracks of My Tears”

Disc Two
“Baby I Love You” (Live)
“Son of a Preacher Man”
“Call Me” (Alternate Version)*
“Let It Be”
“Young, Gifted and Black” (Alternate Longer Take)*
“Bridge over Troubled Water” (Long Version)
“It’s Not Unusual/See Saw” — with Tom Jones (Originally broadcast on This Is Tom Jones, 10/9/1970)*
“You’re All I Need to Get By” (Work Tape)*
“Brand New Me” (Work Tape)*
“Spanish Harlem” (Alternate Mix)*
“Rock Steady” (Alternate Mix/Take)
“Day Dreaming”
“Share Your Love with Me” (Live)
“Don’t Play That Song” (Live)
“Dr. Feelgood” (Live)
“Spirit in the Dark” (Reprise with Ray Charles) (Live)
“How I Got Over” (Single Edit, Live)
“Master of Eyes (The Deepness of Your Eyes)”

Disc Three
“Somewhere” (Alternate Version)*
“Angel” (Work Tape)*
“The Boy from Bombay”*
“Til It’s Over” (Demo)*
“Oh Baby” (a.k.a. “There’s Something Magic About You”) (Demo)*
“Until You Come Back to Me” (Work Tape)*
“I’m In Love” (Alternate Vocal)
“Without Love”
“Mr. D.J. (5 for the D.J.)”
“You”
“Something He Can Feel”
“Look into Your Heart”
“Break It to Me Gently”
“When I Think About You”
“Almighty Fire (Woman of the Future)”
“Ladies Only” (Short Version)
“You Light Up My Life”*
“Ooo Baby Baby” — with Smokey Robinson (Originally broadcast on Soul Train, 12/1/1979)*
“Amazing Grace” (Originally broadcast on Royal Variety Performance, 11/23/1980)

Disc Four
“Think”
“I Say a Little Prayer” — with Dionne Warwick*
“United Together”
“Jump to It”
“The Wind”
“Freeway of Love”
“Sisters Are Doin’ It for Themselves” — Eurythmics & Aretha Franklin
“I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me)” — Aretha Franklin and George Michael
“Oh Happy Day” — with Mavis Staples (Live at New Bethel Baptist Church, Detroit, MI (July 1987)
“A Rose Is Still a Rose”
“Someday We’ll All Be Free”
“The Makings of You”
“Nessun Dorma” (Live)
“At Last” — with Lou Rawls (Originally broadcast on American Soundtrack: Rhythm, Love and Soul, March 2003)*
“You’ve Got a Friend” — Ronald Isley featuring Aretha Franklin
“Rolling in the Deep” (The Aretha Version)
“My Country ‘Tis of Thee”
“(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman” (Live) (Originally broadcast on The 38th Annual Kennedy Center Honors, 12/19/2015)*

* = previously unreleased on CD and digital.

By Matt Friedlander
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