Chancellor of Soul's Chronicles-Journals Dedicated To The
Historical Preservation Of R&B, Pop and It's Artists and Music


       _____________________________________________

 I Never Loved A Man

           (The 40th Anniversary of a Landmark LP)  

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In the 1960’s, the main ingredients of soul music were elements of gospel & rhythm and blues. Its musical powers expressed an inner spiritual outcry from the black community that generated a connection in the civil rights movement. It became so explosive, it linked revolutionized minds around
the world. The music was self-explanatory, the artists were our spokesperson.

One of the founding leaders of this music revolution was the Godfather of Soul, the late great James Brown. His energy on stage was raw, unpolished and unadulterated. His presence was pure dynamite, selling out concerts wherever he appeared. Another was the Queen of Soul, Ms. Aretha Franklin.

Louise Bishop, a legendary disc jockey from WDAS in Philadelphia, informed Atlantic Records executive, Jerry Wexler that Aretha Franklin’s 6 year contract with Columbia Records expired. Jerry immediately contacted Aretha and her former husband / manager Ted White, to set up a meeting in his New York office. 24 year old Aretha Franklin signed the historical contact in Nov 1966 that would forever change the course of music history.

Wexler had plans to take Aretha to Stax Records in Memphis, Tenn. But Jim Stewart, president of the label, rejected his offer, so another option was to travel down to Rick Hall’s Fame Studios in Muscle Shoals, Alabama. It turned out to be a blessing from God. The session took place on Tuesday, January 24, 1967. The musicians selected were members of the Fame Gang. Spooner Oldham on organ and electric piano, Jimmy Johnson and songwriter Chips Moman on guitars, the late Tommy Cogbill on bass, Roger Hawkins and Gene Chrisman on drums, Melvin Lastie, Ken Laxton and Ernie Royal on trumpets, Charlie Chalmers, Joe Arnold and the late great King Curtis on saxophones, Willie Bridges on baritone sax, and the late Arif Mardin on vibes.

Out of 11 selected tunes, the first song recorded was a composition by a native of Detroit, the late Ronnie Shannon, entitled, ‘I Never Loved A Man (The Way I Love You)’. A rough demo was played over the loud speakers in the studio but the musicians weren't thrilled about it. The players  began fiddling around with their instruments trying to figure out what to come up with. Spooner Oldham came up with an idea formulating a repeated pattern on his Wurlitzer piano. Inspiration soon followed as the merry musicians began to develop a feel for the song. After listening to a playback, they knew a masterpiece was born.

As work began to take shape on a Dan Penn/ Chips Moman song ‘Do Right Man, Do Right Woman’, trouble brewed between Ted White and sax player, Ken Laxton, after a drinking spree. The next day, Aretha and her husband headed back to Detroit, leaving Jerry Wexler with one finished song. He sent acetates to local radio station as a test pattern. The
reaction was overwhelming. Dee jays were asking  for the record. He was stunned. Jerry was desperate and after a 3 week search for Aretha, she finally contacted him and the recording schedule resumed. On Wednesday, February 8, the Muscle Shoals musicians along with Aretha her sisters Carolyn and Erma Franklin and Cissy Houston, headed for the Atlantic studios in New York to first work on a King Curtis LP, ‘King Curtis Plays The Great Memphis Hits’ (No 11 R&B LP June 24, 1967) then stayed on board for a few days extra to record the ‘I Never Loved A Man’ album. Aretha’s vocals on ‘Do Right Man, Do Right Woman were completed
that afternoon.

A composition written by King Curtis, Aretha and her sister Carolyn entitled ‘Save Me’ was the first song cut on the album (Feb 8). 5 songs were added six days later on Tuesday Feb 14. ‘Respect’ ‘Drown In My Own Tears’ ‘Don't Let Me Lose This Dream’, ‘Baby, Baby Baby’ and the Sam Cooke 65’ classic, 'A Change Is Gonna Come’. The last 3 songs ‘Soul Serenade’ a remake of the 1964 King Curtis instrumental with added lyrics, ‘Dr Feelgood’ and the bouncy Sam Cooke number, ‘Good Times’
were laid on Wednesday Feb 15.

Atlantic’s top engineer the late Tom Dowd and Arif Mardin served as the arrangers and supervised the direction of the selections featured on the album.

Released Friday March 10, ‘I Never Loved A Man The Way I Loved You’ LP (charted No. 1 R&B LP No. 2 Pop April 29). It remained on the album charts for an astonishing 49 weeks! The self-titled single ‘I Never Loved A Man’ debuted at the (No 1 position on the R&B singles chart March 25 1967). The flipside ‘Do Right Woman-Do Right Man’ hit (No. 37 R&B April 17).

Aretha would gain international fame and earn her title as the ‘Queen of Soul’ with a makeover of Otis Redding’s 1965 classic hit ‘Respect’ Her version sparked a universal anthem creating terms of self-dignity, whether the subject was based on women’s rights or race relations. King Curtis played tenor sax solo during the song’s middle key change borrowed from Sam & Dave’s classic 67’ smash ‘When Something Is Wrong With My Baby’. Aretha, Carolyn and Erma added the memorable ‘sock it to me’ catchphrase towards the song’s testimonial ending.

‘Respect’ b/w ‘Dr. Feelgood’ charted (No 1 on the R&B singles  charts historically the week ending Sat May 20, 1967). ‘Dr. Feelgood’ a bluesy sexual stimulating composition by Aretha and Ted White, describe the tale of this lady not depending on prescribed pharmaceuticals to gain a climatic soul satisfaction but relying on her companion to provide a dose of Vitamin D as a nightly supplement.


‘I Never Loved A Man’ LP remains a certified classic that stands the test of time. This landmark album continues to embrace many music fanatics throughout this generation, not  regional but global. Aretha’s electrifying performance in 1967 reign her supreme as the monarch of the musical throne that will never tarnish but forever represent an element of everlasting
gold of pure soul.


Lady Soul….Happy 40th…I never loved a woman the way I love you.





                              Soulfully Yours,

                                 Mike Boone

                           (Chancellor of Soul)



                               (April 2007)







Materials should not be used or altered without the

expressed permission of the author, Mike Boone,

Chancellor of Soul.




 

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