Aretha Franklin, ‘Take a Look: Aretha Franklin Complete on Columbia’ (Legacy/Columbia)

Before she was the Queen of Soul on Atlantic, the prodigious young Aretha spent nearly seven years recording torchy ballads and polite standards at Columbia. The majority of the material on this staggering 11-CD box is string-laden nightclub fare reminiscent of Aretha’s idol, Dinah Washington; but even though her voice lacks that familiar, subtly breathy rasp, its beauty and athleticism predicts the genius to come.


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