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Piece of Her Heart - The Epic and Shout Years

Erma Franklin

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Album Review

Though it's reasonably well known that Erma Franklin did the original version of "Piece of My Heart," the prime body of recordings by Aretha's older sister was still pretty ill-served by CD compilations until this 2009 release. Its 26 tracks contain everything she recorded for the Epic and Shout labels between 1961 and 1968. That includes her 1962 Epic LP Her Name Is Erma, various early-'60s non-LP Epic singles, and the seven tracks she recorded for Shout in 1967-68 (among them the 1967 Top Ten R&B hit "Piece of My Heart"). Like Aretha Franklin's pre-Atlantic work for Columbia during the same era, Erma's Epic output in particular was pretty uneven, with too much emphasis on orchestrated popular standards. Yet mixed in with those were some gutsy early soul and girl group-style sides, a few of which — especially "Don't Wait Too Long" (penned by sister Carolyn Franklin) and the downright terrific "I Don't Want No Mama's Boy" — were arguably grittier and stronger material-wise than anything Aretha was doing in a similar vein in the early '60s. More suitable soul tunes became less of a problem in her short but impressive stint with Shout, which included the down'n'dirty, bluesy Carolyn Franklin composition "Don't Catch the Dog's Bone" and the obscure Carole King-Gerry Goffin number "Don't Have the Right to Cry." To repeat an unavoidable comparison, Erma's voice wasn't quite as amazing as Aretha's, but it was real good, and deserving of more success than it got at Epic or Shout (or her subsequent time at Brunswick, unrepresented on this compilation). This well-annotated package is a fine commemoration of her underrated talent, though audiophiles should be aware that two of her Epic singles had to be remastered from vinyl here as the master tapes are missing.

Biography

Born: 13 March 1938 in Shelby, MS

Genre: R&B/Soul

Years Active: '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

Erma Franklin's musical accomplishments will forever be overshadowed by those of her younger sister Aretha, especially since she recorded very sporadically through the '60s. As a singer in her own right, Franklin is best known for recording the original version of "Piece of My Heart," which of course became one of Janis Joplin's signature tunes in a much different arrangement. Franklin was born March 13, 1938, in Shelby, MS, and moved with her family to Memphis, Buffalo (where she made her singing...
Full bio
Piece of Her Heart - The Epic and Shout Years, Erma Franklin
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  • 3,99 €
  • Genres: R&B/Soul, Music, Soul
  • Released: 18 February 2011

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