FOLA features Aretha Franklin’s “Amazing Grace”

Aretha Franklin in Amazing Grace.
Aretha Franklin in Amazing Grace. Photo provided

LUDLOW, Vt. – On Saturday, Oct. 10 at 7 p.m., FOLA will present the marvelous Aretha Franklin in her masterpiece concert, “Amazing Grace.”

The 2019 nationwide release, 47 years after it was made, means audiences at last will see the Queen of Soul’s transcendent masterpiece – Aretha Franklin in Amazing Grace.

Amazing Grace captivates, says the Smithsonian’s Christopher Wilson from the National Museum of American History. It is 90 minutes of “living the genius of Aretha and the passion of the tradition she embraced and represented.” In 1970s Detroit, Aretha Franklin’s masterpiece Amazing Grace, the best-selling gospel album of all time, chronicles the two-day, live-recording session at the New Temple Missionary Baptist Church in Los Angeles in January 1972.

In 1972, Aretha Franklin was at the top of the music world. She had recorded more than a dozen gold records, more than 20 albums, and had won five Grammys. The world had experienced her amazing voice on classics like “Respect,” “Spanish Harlem,” “Bridge over Troubled Water,” and “Chain of Fools.” She was already known as “The Queen of Soul.” But early in 1972, she returned to her roots and decided to record a live gospel album, singing the songs she grew up performing in her father’s New Bethel Baptist Church in Detroit and in the family parlor since she was a small child.

The result of Franklin’s return to gospel was legendary at the time. Performing with Rev. James Cleveland, the fabulous choir, Aretha’s studio band – Bernard “Pretty” Purdie on drums, guitarist Cornell Dupree, and bassist Chuck Rainey – and in front of a live audience that included Mick Jagger and Charlie Watts, who were in Los Angeles finishing an album for the Rolling Stones, the Franklin recording session resulted in a two-album, double platinum, Grammy-winning tour de force.

The 97-minute film is captivating; it’s a witnessing of Aretha Franklin’s musical mastery. The emotion in the audience is palpable, not just because of the years we had to wait for the experience, but because we are living the genius of Aretha and the passion of the tradition she embraced and represented.

This program is free and open to everyone; donations are appreciated. The United Church or Ludlow will provide water. Attendees are requested to wear masks and maintain social distancing. For information, call 802-228-3238.

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