Friday, August 8, 2008

Soul Fixin'

Ain't Nothing Like Aretha

While browsing through YouTube videos I came across the clip above. The year was 1975. The event was the 17th Grammy Awards. Philly soul architect Thom Bell was recognized as producer of the year and Stevie's brilliant Fulfillingness' First Finale received a Grammy for Album of the Year. The highlight of the night was Aretha's amazing performance of Marvin & Tammi's 'Ain't Nothing Like The Real Thing,' which she interpreted on 1974's Let Me In Your Life. While the real thing belonged to Marvin & Tammi, Aretha reconstructed the song into an Aretha classic that night. Influenced by the 'flat-footed' gospel singers of the 50's, Aretha, accompanied by a trio of background singers, took to the stage, stood 'flat-footed' and wore the Ashford & Simpson penned song out. Aretha was the embodiment of black womanhood that night, it's quite obvious that a young Whitney Houston was taking notes. The moments following Aretha's performance show the presentation for 'Best Female R&B Vocal Performance.' Aretha was nominated along with soul sisters Millie Jackson, Etta James, Tina Turner, Shirley Brown, Thelma Houston and Ann Pebbles. Aretha would grab the award for her rendition of 'Ain't Nothing Like The Real Thing.' Sister ReRe made history that night, she won the award eight consecutive times starting in 1968 with 'Respect.' Ain't nothing like Aretha.