“The Only Way Is Up” (G. Jackson, J. Henderson)
Otis Clay (1942-2016), 1980
A few years after Otis Clay recorded this song for his small Chicago label, another version was released in England, where it topped the charts for several weeks.
Yazz (1960-), 1988
It is Spring in the mountains.
I come alone seeking you.
The sound of chopping wood echoes
Between the silent peaks.
The streams are still icy.
There is snow on the trail.
At sunset I reach your grove
In the stony mountain pass.
You want nothing, although at night
You can see the aura of gold
And silver ore all around you.
You have learned to be gentle
As the mountain deer you have tamed.
The way back forgotten, hidden
Away, I become like you,
An empty boat, floating, adrift.
—Tu Fu (aka Du Fu, 712-729), “Written on the Wall of Chang’s Hermitage” (translated from Chinese by Kenneth Rexroth)
Sam Fletcher, “I’d Think It Over,” 1964
July 26, 2018, Monhegan Island, Maine
Sea foam. The tide seems to burst, like a muffled, distant explosion of which we should be seeing only the smoke.
—The Journal of Jules Renard (translated from French by Louise Bogan and Elizabeth Roget), August, 1887
sweet soul music
Ry Cooder featuring The Hamiltones, “I Can’t Win,” Danbury, Conn., 2018
Aretha Franklin, 1942-2018
“I Never Loved a Man (The Way I Love You)” (R. Shannon), 1967
“Do Right Woman, Do Right Man” (C. Moman, D. Penn), 1967
“Respect” (O. Redding), 1967
Aretha Franklin, singer, pianist, March 25, 1942-August 16, 2018
Today we remember her by revisiting previous posts.
Here—at the funeral service for Bishop David L. Ellis, pastor of Detroit’s Greater Grace Temple of the Apostolic Faith—Aretha testifies.
Aretha Franklin, “Never Grow Old,” live, Detroit, 1996
[A] lengthy service was perceived to be an honor to the deceased—a testimony to the great impact of his or her life. Consider the 1996 funeral of Bishop David Ellis Sr., pastor of Detroit’s Greater Grace Temple of the Apostolic Faith, whose services stretched over three days. His body was laid to rest in a $30,000 gold-plated casket that was ‘propped at an angle in the church aisle so mourners could see his body resting on red velvet cushions.’—Karla FC Holloway (in Passed On: African American Mourning Stories )
When someone sounds as good as Aretha did last Sunday, only one word seems to fit: more.
Aretha Franklin (joined on the second number by Billy Preston and Little Richard), “Surely God Is Able,” “Packin’ Up,” live (Tribute to Marion Williams), Washington, D.C., 1993
My heart is still there in gospel music. It never left.—Aretha Franklin
Aretha didn’t have to wait until she was grown to be great. She was great when she was 14.
Aretha Franklin (at 14, vocal and piano), “Precious Lord,” live, Detroit (New Bethel Baptist Church, where her father, Rev. C. L. Franklin, was pastor), 1956
Here’s more of the late Albertina Walker.
“Lord, Remember Me,” live
“I’m Still Here” (joined by Delores Washington), live, 1998, Philadelphia
Want more? Here.
Here’s a better clip from this service than the one posted last Sunday (now deleted).
Aretha Franklin, “I’ll Fly Away,” live, Homegoing Service for Albertina Walker, Chicago (West Point Baptist Church, 3566 S. Cottage Grove), 10/15/10
Friends and fans of Aretha Franklin offered prayers and good wishes after learning that the Queen of Soul, one of Detroit’s beloved musical artists, is suffering from pancreatic cancer.
A world without Aretha?
Aretha Franklin, “Oh It Is Jesus,” “Old Landmark,” live, featuring Rev. Cecil Franklin (brother) & Erma Franklin (sister), Detroit, 1985 (TV broadcast 1986)
Aretha Franklin, “Surely God Is Able,” live, Detroit, 1990
The other day, in the wake of Inez’s [Andrews] passing, we heard several takes on this. How about another?
Aretha Franklin (with James Cleveland & The Southern California Community Choir), “Mary, Don’t You Weep,” live, Los Angeles, 1972
Gerry Goffin, lyricist, February 11, 1939-June 19, 2014
The Shirelles, “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow” (G. Goffin, C. King), 1961
The Drifters, “Up on the Roof” (G. Goffin, C. King), 1962
Aretha Franklin, “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman” (G. Goffin, C. King, J. Wexler), 1967
What better way to start the new year?
Aretha Franklin, “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman” (G. Goffin, C. King, J. Wexler), live, Washington, D.C., 2015
Jimmy Ruffin, “What Becomes of the Brokenhearted,” 1966
Our share of night to bear –
Our share of morning –
Our blank in bliss to fill,
Our blank in scorning –
Here a star, and there a star,
Some lose their way!
Here a mist – and there a mist –
Afterwards – Day!
—Emily Dickinson (1830-1886), 116 (Franklin)