Viewing Aretha Franklin's work through a focus on race, gender, and other categories of analysis can challenge us to do the same with all music, acknowledging how multiple points of oppression and privilege impact the production, consumption, and reception of a wide range of music.
The concept album that is Aretha's Gold follows the chronology of Aretha Franklin's hits, all released in 1967 and 1968, apex years of the decade not just in terms of numbers but also as an apogee of its cultural and political zeitgeist.
A brief survey of songs from a six-year period (1968-1974) of Aretha Franklin's 61-year recording career shows there were many more levels to this singer/pianist/activist/songwriter than justifiable claim to original Queen of Soul Divahood.
You told me to leave you alone. My father said come on home. My doctor said take it easy. But the pull of the 130th most acclaimed album of all-time is much too strong. A 1968 soul classic is this week's Counterbalance.