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Friday on my Mind 171: (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman – RIP Aretha Franklin

Another giant of 60s (and later) music has gone.

Aretha Franklin was undoubtedly the best purveyor of the branch of music she excelled in. Not for nothing was she known as the Queen of Soul.

(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman wasn’t a hit in Britain. I’m not sure if it was ever released as one in the UK but her expression in this recording is the epitome of soul.

Aretha Franklin: (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman

Her biggest solo hit in the UK in terms of chart placing was actually I Say a Little Prayer, in 1968:-

Aretha Franklin: I Say a Little Prayer

But only one word suffices to describe her achievements.

Respect.

Aretha Louise Franklin: 25/3/1942 – 16/8/2018. So it goes.

Friday on my Mind 170: Early Morning

Speaking of Stuart Henry this is a track I remember him championing when he first started broadcasting for Radio 1.

It later featured on the first Barclay James Harvest album I bought, the retrospective compilation Early Morning Onwards which EMI put out on a budget label when the group jumped ship – or were they pushed? – to Polydor.

I probably liked Early Morning at the time due to the mellotron. Still do now.

Barclay James Harvest: Early Morning

Friday on my Mind 169: Reach Out I’ll Be There

As soon as I hear the first notes of this it takes me right back to when my family first got a transistor radio which kick-started my interest in popular music. It immediately conjures up the time and place – specifically listening to (the pirate) Radio Scotland and especially the late great Stuart Henry. This was the big hit at the time.

The Four Tops: Reach Out I’ll Be There

Friday on my Mind 168: When You’re Young and in Love

Another Motown song from one of the label’s lesser known artists.

I particularly like the Rachmaninov style piano introduction.

The Marvelettes: When You’re Young and in Love

Friday on my Mind 167: Captain of Your Ship

Despite the clanking bell on the intro (signalling we are probably to think of a paddle-driven river boat) and the reference to the boat leaking this always put me in mind of Science Fiction. It must have been the futuristic sounding name Reparata and that Delrons sound like something from Captain Scarlet.

Reparata and the Delrons: Captain of Your Ship

Friday on my Mind 166: Take Me in Your Arms and Love Me

Another Motown song. Is that a harpsichord in the intro? Unusual for Motown.

This builds up from a slow, quiet start to something rather more ostentatious.

Gladys Knight and The Pips: Take Me in Your Arms and Love Me

Friday on my Mind 165: Up Up and Away

Another Jimmy Webb song this was first recorded by the 5th Dimension in the US but it was The Johnny Mann Singers who had the UK hit.

The Johnny Mann Singers: Up Up and Away

Not Friday on my Mind 50: Elenore

This song’s lyric is surely the only pop song to include the word etcetera. Or at least to attempt to rhyme it.

The Turtles: Elenore

Friday on my Mind 164: When You Walk in the Room

Another song which has the word nonchalant in its lyric, When You Walk in the Room was written and performed by Jackie DeShannon but is more familiar to Britons via the cover version recorded by The Searchers which got to number 3 in the UK 1964. The song’s title is never actually sung in its entirety during its course; only its last four words.

The Searchers: When You Walk in the Room

Here also is Jackie DeShannon with the song on US TV:-

Jackie DeShannon: When You Walk in the Room

Friday on my Mind 163: Poupée de Cire, Poupée de Son/Les Sucettes. RIP France Gall

France Gall who has died recently won the Eurovision Song Contest for Luxembourg in 1965. She was French as was the song’s composer Serge Gainsbourg. I blieve this video is of her performance on the night.

France Gall: Poupée de Cire Poupée de Son

Gall was apparently the subject of a particularly cruel trick by Gainsbourg when he persuaded her to record the song Les Sucettes (Lollipops) about whose double meaning Gall claims she was unaware. (Though the Guardian obituary linked to above says that when requested to lick one for a TV performance, she declined.) The film below makes the lyric’s inference obvious.

France Gall: Les Sucettes

This video outlines the story, along with Gall’s viewpoint.

Isabelle Geneviève Marie Anne “France” Gall: 9/10/1947 – 7/1/2018. So it goes.

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