Drinking music is in a class all of its own. We know it as the music that has helped us just to make it through a situation. It has soothed the pain of a broken heart or a failed romance. You put that record of your choice on and slide on down to bluesville with a side order of dark and dreary skies. I personally love this kind of music not for its mood altering affects but for its power. Never does a lyric have so much meaning as in the blues. There are no mixed messages in these songs. You know it is over, they have left you, and your heart will be broken for awhile. You are lying on the couch with a fifth of whatever (kool-aid, of course) and co-signing with the music when you hear phrases like “I’d rather drink muddy water and sleep out in a hollow log” or “Lawd, if I only had my way, the graveyard would be the place where my man would lay.”
On Aretha Sings The Blues, Aretha sets the tone for whatever ails you. These classics were recorded between 1961 and 1965, during her seven years at Columbia Records. She is also featured on piano on some of the tracks. Aretha opens the album with my personal favorite, “Drinking Again“, which paints the tale of a romance that has gone south and the song ends with the prophetic line, “I ain’t got nothin’ but a bottle of Seagram’s and just a memory.” The lights are low and the embers have lost their glow. Each title tells a life story such as “Maybe I’m A Fool“, “Evil Gal Blues“, “Trouble In Mind“, “Nobody Know The Way I Feel This Morning“, “This Bitter Earth“, “Muddy Water“, “Only The Lonely” and “Take A Look.” She embraces this music with such soulfulness, conviction, and compassion and to imagine that she was only in her late teens and early 20’s when she recorded these gems. That is an amazing talent wise beyond her years. If you are an early Aretha fan, this is definitely a must have. Enjoy your music.