"Aretha's Gold" Is Limited to 4000 Copies and Should Already Be Souled Out!

Mobile Fidelity's double 45rpm reissue of Aretha's Gold (originally issued in 1969 as Atlantic SD 8227) gets off to not such a great sonic start because though "I Never Loved A Man (The Way I Love You)" and "Do Right Woman-Do Right Man" are musical classics that belong at the head of the hits lineup, the Rick Hall engineered recordings at his Fame Record Studios in Muscle Shoals, Alabama pale in comparison to everything else in this molten set recorded at Atlantic Studios in New York City.

Once you get past those two tracks the sound gets crazy stupid good compared to however you've previously consumed these tracks (though the Plangent processed mono CDs have their own virtues and digital vices), especially if you have the original 33 1/3 version of this hits package, which was mastered strictly for bright, edgy and compressed commercial purposes to pop on the kiddie phonographs. It's not that the original sounds bad—it kind of sounds like a good juke box rendering, with lots of echo trailing off Aretha's voice and a hard candy-apple glaze. But if you want to hear into these mixes and especially if you want to feel as if you're right there in the studio with Aretha, this is as thrilling as it gets. Hell, it's almost worth buying just to hear Joe South's tremolo drenched guitar opening to Don Covay's "Chain of Fools." That is so deep!

Also here: "Respect", "Dr. Feelgood", "Baby, I Love You", "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman", "Think" and the other Aretha hits arranged by Arif Mardin and Tom Dowd and engineered by Dowd who has had his good engineering days and some not so good ones but for Aretha, he brought his "A" game. And Mo-Fi brings its AAA game. Mo-Fi spreads the original's back cover photos across the inside gatefold to add visual interest.

Fourteen of Aretha's greatest spread over four 180gram RTI cut sides sounding better than ever and as good as they will ever sound, limited to 4000 copies. Now, or kick yourself later. I got this a while back but didn't review because I figured by the time I did, it would be sold out, but no! It's still available.

Music Direct Buy It Now

mraudioguru's picture

...I got it when it first came out. Excellent!

Mike Mangold's picture

This review helped steer me into getting a copy of this, and being transported back to 1967-70. It does sound unbelievable. Thanks very much.