Aretha Franklin was not among my mother’s Sarah Vaughan albums, or my father’s Ella Fitzgerald and Dinah Washington albums. Soul was something else, just then taking shape. “Think” and “Respect” were Sixties anthems of an edgy new blackness, and I remember one of my sisters playing “Baby Baby Baby” behind closed doors in tearful darkness after an argument with my mother about why she was not allowed to get an afro. In 1970, Aretha Franklin offered to pay Angela Davis’s bail, saying she understood how you have to disturb the peace when you can’t get any peace.
Gay liberation was new, too, and at my first gay party ever, in Bloomington, Indiana, a white kid with thick brown hair lip-synched in my direction the intro to one of the slower songs from Aretha Live at Filmore West: “If you came, and didn’t come with anybody, perhaps you might want to turn around and say to the next person, Hey!” We were making out and she was conceding, “If not now, later, some other time,” when the alarm spread that the cops were on the way.… Seguir leyendo »