Wednesday, April 24, 2024

New Aretha Box Set Revives Long Lost Duet with Dionne Warwick on “I Say a Little Prayer” from 1981


Rhino’s wonderful new collection of 81 Aretha Franklin songs and performances has a lot of rarities and alternate takes of famous songs. No matter how the movie “Respect,” does the music lives on.

This set is notable for recovering a long lost duet. In 1981 when Dionne Warwick was hosting “Solid Gold,” the syndicated music show, Aretha made a guest appearance. The two legends look terrific and sound even better on a duet of the Bacharach-David hit, “I Say A Little Prayer for You.”

Dionne — Burt and Hal’s muse– had the original hit in the mid 60s. Then Aretha recorded it as an aside during a session. Her version took off, as well. They are the same song covered in two different ways that are equally good. Hearing their two voices together on the song is spine tingling.

Michael Miller produced the track, and the one and only Darlene Love is singing backup. The whole box set is beautifully produced and remastered. The original studio version of Aretha’s “Bridge Over Troubled Water” is only one of the gems included.

The version below is saved from “Solid Gold” but the sound on the box set is sensational, crisp and three dimensional.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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