Fulvue Drive-In.com
Current Reviews
In Stores Soon
In Stores Now
DVD Reviews, SACD Reviews Essays Interviews Contact Us Meet the Staff
An Explanation of Our Rating System Search  
Category:    Home > Reviews > Soul > Rock > Jazz > Standards > Aretha Franklin + King Curtis – Live At Fillmore West (CDs)

Aretha Franklin + King Curtis – Live At Fillmore West (CDs)


Sound: B     Music: B+/B



Aretha Franklin was at the peak of her powers in what is one of the longest and most enduring careers in music history when a few spectacular March 1971 performances were captured for the remarkable live album Aretha Franklin – Live At Fillmore West.  Still a powerhouse at Atlantic Records, the concert is so powerful that it is one of the greatest live albums ever cut, though it has not always been in print as it should be.  Rhino Records has issued a new 2-CD set with the first being the original album and the second disc consisting of alternate cuts.  The songs are:


CD 1

1)     Respect

2)     Love The One You're With

3)     Bridge Over Troubled Water

4)     Eleanor Rigby

5)     Make It With You

6)     Don't Play That Song

7)     Dr. Feelgood

8)     Spirit In The Dark

9)     Spirit In The Dark (reprise)

10)  Reach Our And Touch (Somebody's Hand)



CD 2

     1) Respect

     2) Call Me

     3) Mixed-Up Girl

     4) Love The One You're With

     5) Bridge Over Troubled Water

     6) Share Your Love With Me

     7) Eleanor Rigby

     8) Make It With You

     9) You're All I Need To Get By

     10) Don't Play That Song

     11) Dr. Feelgood

     12) Spirit In The Dark

     13) Spirit In The Dark (reprise)



On CD 1, Ray Charles joins Aretha on Spirit In The Dark which was the first time they were issued together on vinyl.  Covers of Stephen Stills’ Love The One You’re With, Eleanor Rigby, Make It With You and Dr. Feelgood are remarkably powerful and blow away most so-called female vocalists today.  This is REAL singing by one of the great voices of all time.  Most live albums are a disappointment and never feel live, but Aretha Franklin – Live At Fillmore West is as LIVE as it gets.  Her talent, way with the crowd, addressing what people need and want to hear remind us that her talents even exceed singing and musicianship, with every second truly a golden moment.  It is one of the few must-have CD reissues of the year.


From the same nights, King Curtis not only joined her, but opened for her in a concert strong enough to have its own album release.  The King Curtis tracks include:


     1) Memphis Soul Stew

     2) A Whiter Shade of Pale

     3) Whole Lotta Love

     4) I Stand Accused

     5) Them Changes

     6) Ode To Billie Joe

     7) Mr. Bojangles

     8) Signed, Sealed, Delivered (I'm Yours)

     9) Soul Serenade

Bonus Tracks

     10) My Sweet Lord (with guest vocalist Billy Preston)

     11) Them Changes

     12) Ode To Billie Joe

     13) Soul Serenade

     14) Memphis Soul Stew



All are instrumental for the most part, but the recently deceased Billy Preston, often thought of the as other “Fifth Beatle” when producer George Martin is not around is stunning here in a powerful rendition of the controversial solo hit from ex-Beatle George Martin.  Martin had only recently passed not that long ago and to hear this stunning effort now has an added power and irony that makes relistening a must.  Curtis holds his own with strong covers of many classics and when you are finished listening to this, you realize why Aretha chose him as her opening act for this tour of tours.  It is a solid worthy companion to the Aretha set and is also more than worth your time.


The PCM 2.0 16bit/44.1kHz Stereo sound on both are very good, though the Aretha set is notoriously know for some humming and feedback issues.  Many years ago, when Mobile Fidelity Sound Labs issued the concert in an aluminum audiophile CD just before they started producing their famous 24K Gold CDs, they did what they could to eliminate the noise.  It is not treated the same way here, but is not as bad here the way it exists.  Furthermore, many years after that disc went out of print, this CD does sound better by advantage of the new transfer technology.  The Curtis disc is also sounding good for its age, both of which were produced by the legendary Arif Mardin, who also sadly just passed away.  Curtis co-produced his album with Mardin, while fellow legend Jerry Wexler co-produced Aretha’s set.


This is serious music history back and better than ever.  Until SACD or DVD-Audio editions arrive, these will be definitive for a while to come.  Don’t miss them.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


 Copyright © MMIII through MMX fulvuedrive-in.com