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Aretha Franklin: Queen of Soul/Prom Concert

A tribute was paid at a Prom concert at the Royal Albert Hall to Aretha Franklin by vocalist Shelea backed by the Jules Backley Orchestra.

It was broadcast live on Radio 3 and BBC 4 last night.

The obvious difficulty to overcome is that  however good the singer paying the tribute – she is not Aretha Franklin.

Shelea thought she was a star in her own right. She opened the concert with the cheesy line “Hello London we are going to have some fun”.

Her voice was a reasonable imitation of the legendary soul singer but you can still watch Aretha Franklin herself on You Tube or listen to her recordings.

Much was made in the preliminary introduction by Micah Parrish that Aretha Franklin made every song her own which by definition makes a tribute tough.

Personally I prefer Eartha Kitt as a performer and Nina Simone as a voice.

The other problem I had was the politicisation of Aretha Franklin.

Much was made of her song Respect being the anthem of the Civil Rights Movement and she as a young girl accompanying Martin Luther King on his American tour.

What  would Henry Wood made of this politicisation?

I don’t really want to go to a concert for a political lecture.

It would be more  illuminating to know more of the life of Aretha Franklin. I watched the first half then treated the second half as background before giving up altogether.

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About Michael Stuart

After university, Michael spent twelve years working for MELODY MAKER before going freelance. He claims to keep doing it because it is all he knows. More Posts