January 24: Aretha Franklin released Young, Gifted and Black in 1972

Young, Gifted and Black is the twentieth studio album by American singer Aretha Franklin, Released on January 24, 1972 by Atlantic Records. The album is Top 10 Gold-certified. The album won Aretha a 1972 Grammy Award for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance of the year. It takes its title from the Nina Simone song “To Be Young, Gifted and Black.” In 2003, the TV network VH1 named it the 76th greatest album of all time.

“…of this stunning era, Young, Gifted and Black certainly ranks highly among her studio efforts, with many arguing that it may be her greatest. And with songs like “Rock Steady,” that may be a valid argument. But there’s much more here than just a few highlights. If you really want to go song by song, you’d be hard-pressed to find any throwaways here — this is quite honestly an album that merits play from beginning to end.”
– Jason Birchmeier (allmusic)  Continue reading “January 24: Aretha Franklin released Young, Gifted and Black in 1972”

January 22: Aretha Franklin released Lady Soul in 1968

…1968’s Lady Soul proved Aretha Franklin, the pop sensation, was no fluke. Her performances were more impassioned than on her debut, and the material just as strong, an inspired blend of covers and originals from the best songwriters in soul and pop music.
~John Bush (allmusic.com)

Chain of Fools – Live 1968:

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January 20: The Beatles released Meet The Beatles! in 1964 (USA)

Meet the Beatles! was not their first album released in USA, but as the first Beatles album released by Capitol Records, it was indeed the record where many millions of Americans were introduced to them.

It topped the popular album chart on 15 February 1964 and remained at number one for eleven weeks before being replaced by The Beatles’ Second Album. The cover featured Robert Freeman’s portrait used in the UK for With the Beatles, with a blue tint added to the original stark black-and-white photograph. Continue reading “January 20: The Beatles released Meet The Beatles! in 1964 (USA)”

January 18: Warren Zevon released Excitable Boy in 1978

“The further these songs get from Ronstadtland, the more I like them. The four that exorcise male psychoses by mock celebration are positively addictive, the two uncomplicated rockers do the job, and two of the purely “serious” songs get by. But no one has yet been able to explain to me what “accidentally like a martyr” might mean–answers dependent on the term “Dylanesque” are not acceptable–and I have no doubt that that’s the image Linda will home in on. After all, is she going to cover the one about the headless gunner? A-”
– Robert Christgau

Excitable Boy is the third album by Warren Zevon, it was released in 1978. It includes the top 40 success “Werewolves of London”. The album brought Warren to commercial attention and remains the best-selling album of his career. A remastered and expanded edition was released during 2007.

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January 2: Elvis Presley released Elvis Country in 1971

“Elvis has come out with a record which gives us some of the very finest and most affecting music since he first recorded for Sun almost 17 years ago”- Peter Guralnick (Rolling Stone Magazine 1971)

“…Elvis was at his peak when he cut Elvis Country. Actually, Elvis Presley was positively on a roll at the time. A decade after the end of what were thought to be his prime years, he was singing an ever-widening repertory of songs with more passion and involvement than he’d shown since the end of the 1950s…”
~Bruce Eder (allmusic.com)

 

Elvis Presley – Funny How Time Slips Away (Willie Nelson):

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January 2: Merle Haggard released Sing Me Back Home (album) in 1968

Sing Me Back Home is the fifth studio album by singer and songwriter Merle Haggard, released in 1968 on Capitol Records.

Sing Me Back Home follows the blueprint of Merle Haggard’s first three albums, balancing a hit single with album tracks and a couple of covers, but there is a difference. Where the previous album Branded Man was a transitional album, hinting that Haggard’s talents were deepening substantially, Sing Me Back Home is the result of the flowering of his talent.”
– Thomas Erlewine (allmusic)

Merle Haggard appeared on Austin City Limits nine times over the course of his legendary career. Here’s “Sing Me Back Home” from his appearance in 1978:

A little slowed down beautiful version! Continue reading “January 2: Merle Haggard released Sing Me Back Home (album) in 1968”