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Aretha on piano

Mike Davis

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Too cool. Many people aren't aware that Aretha played on a lot of her Atlantic stuff and it always right there. Thanks for posting that.


Count me among the unaware. I honestly had no idea that Aretha could play piano. Thanks for sharing.



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Zack said: I met the Bass player who played on Respect. Rod was awesome.



Wasn't the bass player on Respect David Hood of the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section? I know 'Rhea cut that title down south with Jimmie Johnson, Spooner Oldham, David,Barry Beckett, Roger Hawkins, and couple other of those southern cats. The MSRC was the hottest studio band in the world for many years. They made those hits with everyone from Bob Seger and The Stones, to Wilson Pickett and Aretha.

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Great work by one of the all-time greats. Of course, I misread the title that came up during the intro as "The Keith Richard Show".


I thought, "Who the hell would have given Keith Richard his own musical variety show? What were they thinking?"

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  • 2 weeks later...

Well this was burried by the time I got back with as definitive an answer as I could find, but what the heck.


"Respect" was recorded Feb 14, 1967 by Tom Dowd at Atlantic Studios in NY. Aretha played piano (and sang of course), Spooner Oldham played organ, Jimmy Johnson-guitar, Roger Hawkins-drums and Tommy Cogbill played bass. The horn section was, Charles Chalmers and King Curtis (tenors), Melvin Lastie-cornet, Willie Bridges-bari.


This is the original Muscle Shoals band that cut "I Never Loved a Man" and "Do Right Woman-Do Right Man" at Fame studios with Rick Hall behind the board, on Jan 27th (about 3 weeks earlier). The story I've always heard is that Rick was "difficult" and Wexler yanked the band up to NY to finish the record. The other story that floated around was that one of the sidemen was overheard by Aretha's husband using what we now like to refer to as "the N word". David Hood was on these two songs, but he was the trombone player!


I've seen the drummer credit on "Respect" occasionally given to Gene Christman. Gene was part of the Memphis crew that Wexler had used and he did play on some of the tracks recorded in NY that week, but I can tell that it was Roger on "Respect". (Yes...I am that old. Old enough to have played with both of them, many times)

In those days, it was not uncommon for producers to have several players deep on each instrument. You'd sit on the couch in the lounge and hope the guy ahead of you didn't cut it so they'd give you a shot!

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Thanks Steve for all that info on Respect. I spent some time in Muscle Shoals with the MSRS guys and they told me they had done the Respect track...and they were correct. They just forgot to tell me that they cut it in NY. I had dinner one night in 1981 in MS with Jerry Wexler who was at the studio cutting an album with Lou Ann Barton. For three hours I babbled on asking Jerry questions about Atlantic Records and all the great acts Ahmet and Jerry had signed and recorded. And Jerry was happy to indulge me with a lot of interesting tidbits of music history. Jerry is a class act and a true music lover like Ahmet was. And that's the reason Atlantic became one of the greatest labels of all time...and THE greatest as far as my tastes in music.
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