All hail the Queen of Soul.
Listen/Download – Aretha Franklin – Save Me – MP3
This is going to be brief, since I’ve been fighting a fever since yesterday, and appropriately feel like yesterday’s garbage.
The tune I bring you today is another great “missing the forest for the trees” moment.
I first heard ‘Save Me’ as performed by Brian Auger and Julie Driscoll.
Then someone hepped me to the version by the mighty Nina Simone.
THEN…my man DJ Bluewater came to the Asbury Park 45 Sessions with his very own dub plate of the Wanda Davis version (smoking, of course) from the Midwest Funk compilation.
So I’m all “I wonder what obscure source produced such a popular (and grooving) song?”
A cursory search revealed what a glance at the Brian and Jools label would, that being that the original version of the tune was by that very obscure artist, Aretha Franklin.
That’s right. Aretha co-wrote the tune with King Curtis (and – I think - her sister Carolyn) and recorded it on her 1967 ‘I Never Loved a Man The Way I Love You’ LP (along with another minor tune, uh ‘Respect’). It was her debut LP for Atlantic after leaving Columbia, is of course a classic.
The tune opens up with a grinding, ‘Gloria’-esque guitar line, then Aretha (and a churning bass line) drop in and take things to a whole new level. It’s a very rock-ish soul number, and the Queen of Soul even gets to namecheck Batman and the Green Hornet.
When I first heard Aretha’s version, I thought it sounded strangely familiar, and a little internal (brain-based) digging reminded me that the song’s co-composer King Curtis resurrected the backing track two years later for the song ‘Instant Groove’.
It is without question a classic.
I hope you dig it.
I’m going back to the couch…
NOTE: Make sure to check out the Midnight Soulstice show from this past Friday which includes a mix from yours truly. It’s archived for streaming or download here.