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A Rose In Detroit Michigan

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A Rose In Detroit Michigan

Aretha Louise Franklin

March 25, 1942 – August 16, 2018

 

By now we know that Aretha Franklin died of Pancreatic Cancer on Thursday, August 16, 2018, at age 76, leaving behind a legacy including iconic music and civil rights activism.  Here’s how we best knew this extraordinary singer.

Her Recordings:

Respect 1967

Natural Woman 1968

I Say A Little Prayer 1968

Chain Of Fools 1968

I Knew You Were Waiting 1986

Think 1968

Do Right Woman – Do Right Man 1967

Ain’t No Way 1968

Precious Lord Part 1 1956

Rock Steady 1972

Until You Come Back To Me 1974

A Change Is Gonna Come 1967

Freeway Of Love 1985

Day Dreaming 1972

Bridge Over Trouble Water 1971

Don’t Play That Song 1970

I Never Loved A Man 1967

Spanish Harlem 1972

Baby I Love You 1967

A Rose Is Still A Rose 1998

Rolling In The Deep 2014

Since You’ve Been Gone 1968

Willing To Forgive 1994

You Send Me 1968

Today I Sing The Blues 1980

Share Your Love With Me 1970

   

Ever Changin’ Times 1991

Won’t Be Long 1980

Something He Can Feel 1976

One Step Ahead 1967

The House That Jack Built 2014

Reading the titles alone should have started a plethora of melodies, tunes, and songs dancing inside you.  It did for me, and if it didn’t for you,  perhaps because you were born after the years above. I urge you to google them and take a listen, you are in for a treat.

Researching an artist like the Queen of Soul means hours of pleasure for your ears,  and you won’t bore the person in your life who is more familiar with the list above, because rediscovering great music is just as pleasurable as first discovery.

I enjoyed and remember well; the time back in 1992, when a friend asked that I come by her place after work to hear her new CD by her favorite new recording artists.  She prided herself on getting the newest releases in movies, music, and fashion… this time it was the group EnVogue’s  CD Funky Divas that she was most proud of, because as far as she knew, amongst her friends she was the first to own it.

I came in as she was opening and pouring a glass of wine.  She put the CD on and we listened. We listened to five songs… I enjoyed all of them and told her so between each song, and each time she would say, “yeah” with a knowing nod followed by, “wait till the next one.”  Number 6 played and I listened. Giving Him Something He Can Feel was the song and when it was over, I didn’t automatically offer my approval as I had for the previous 5.  This caused her to glance at me through the stem of her turned up glass, now half empty, and ask immediately after swallowing, “how did you like that one?”  I said, ‘I loved it,’ sending a smile across her lips. I continued saying they did a good job on it, I enjoyed it—I also enjoyed it back in 1976 when Aretha Franklin did it.

“What?”

She asked, letting the smile drop from her cheeks.  Apparently, she had never heard it until then. But I knew it well, you see, my parents were Aretha Franklin fans.  What I didn’t know at the time was that, Something He Can Feel, as it was originally named, was written by Curtis Mayfield for the 1976 motion picture Sparkle.  

(If you are not familiar with Curtis Mayfield you’ll want to google him, too.)

It became a number one hit on the Billboard R&B singles chart in 1976 recorded by Aretha, then again in 1992 recording by the Funky Divas.

There is, has been, and always will be great words written about Aretha Franklin.  Her voice and music is the sound track of our lives attached to stories of laughter, excitement, heartaches and pain.  But no matter how painful the memory, her music evokes a soothing melody that aids in healing.

She walks into a room, puts her purse down on a piano, (black women keep their purse close),  sits at that piano, and plays, sings, (and I mean sings), which is rare today in the music world of new recording artists.  Aretha did that and much more. For me, she had an ordinary speaking voice like my mother calling for me to come in for dinner, then sings a song that sends chills up and down my spine. So cool and laid back you’d invite her to your party, but so powerful that if she came you’d bow down as to follow protocol when royalty enters the room; and if she blessed you with a song, you’d know why she is The Queen Of Soul.  Her songs praised men at a time when they brought home the bacon, and there was mutual respect between black men and women through a time of uphill civil rights battles, unemployment, lack of education and a nation filled with racist white cops—through it all her music brought us from an unfair opportunity to amazing grace. Aretha Franklin will be missed. She was truly a rose in Detroit, Michigan that became The Queen of Soul.

By Brandon Finney

Spanish Harlem

Ben E. King

There is a rose in Spanish Harlem
A red rose up in Spanish Harlem
It is a special one, it’s never seen the sun
It only comes out when the moon is on the run
And all the stars are gleaming
It’s growing in the street right up through the concrete
But soft and sweet and dreaming

There is a rose in Spanish Harlem
A red rose up in Spanish Harlem
With eyes as black as coal that look down in my soul
And starts a fire there and then I lose control
I have to beg your pardon

I’m going to pick that rose
And watch her as she grows in my garden

I’m going to pick that rose
And watch her as she grows in my garden

La la la, la la la, la la la la
(There is a rose in Spanish Harlem)
La la la, la la la, la la la la
(There is a rose in Spanish Harlem)