By Raymond Ward, Chicago Crusader
In January 1967, a 24-year old Aretha Franklin signed to Atlantic Records and began one of the most legendary runs in music history, releasing five U.S. hit singles in that year alone. Rhino celebrates the 50th anniversary of Franklin’s historic signing with an opportunity to hear her classic Atlantic masters like never before.
“A BRAND NEW ME: ARETHA FRANKLIN WITH THE ROYAL PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA” pairs classic vocals from some of the most iconic songs that the Queen of Soul recorded for Atlantic Records with new arrangements performed by The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. The album will be available from Rhino on November 10 on CD, LP, digital download, and streaming services.
“A BRAND NEW ME” features Franklin’s instantly recognizable voice woven together with new orchestral arrangements. The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra recorded the music at Abbey Road Studios in London, with brand new backing vocals led by Grammy-winning singer Patti Austin.
The result is another timeless record that retains the soul, groove, and gospel power of Franklin’s revered talent. Among the standout tracks are newly re-imagined versions of classics like the Billboard #1 R&B hits “Respect,” “Think,” “Don’t Play That Song (You Lied),” and “Angel.”
The album was produced by Nick Patrick and Don Reedman, the masterminds behind the massive worldwide success of “If I Can Dream: Elvis Presley With The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra,” which recently topped the charts in multiple countries and has sold more than 1.5 million copies.
Nick Patrick says: “There is a reason that Aretha Franklin is called the ‘Queen of Soul.’ There is nothing more exciting than that incredible voice taking you on an emotional roller coaster ride through her amazing repertoire of songs. To have the opportunity to work with that voice on this project has been the greatest honor and to hear a symphony orchestra wrapped around those performances is breathtaking.”
Don Reedman says: “I was 15 years old when a song came on the radio called ‘Rock A Bye Your Baby With A Dixie Melody.’ It blew me away; the power, the soul. The feeling that went through me got me hooked on Aretha and I have been ever since. To be able to make this album and be able to select songs from hits like ‘Respect’ to ‘Think’ then blend them with classic songs like ‘Let It Be’ and ‘Border Song’ and create an album which is versatile and fresh is truly an honor.”
James Williams, Managing Director of The Royal Philharmonic says: “The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra is thrilled to perform on this new recording, combining Aretha Franklin’s iconic voice with lush new arrangements of her greatest hit songs for full orchestra, bringing a whole new generation to the music of this legendary performer.”