(March 13, 1938 – September 7, 2002) was an American gospel and R&B singer. Erma was the elder sister of American singer / musician Aretha Franklin and singer / songwriter Carolyn Franklin.
Erma Franklin’s best known recording was the original version of ‘Piece of My Heart’, written and produced by Bert Berns, and recorded in 1967, for which she was nominated for a Grammy Award
So welcome Erma Franklin as you would family. Soft on love and tough on trouble, Erma has only understanding to offer, adding to joys and diving sorrows, always speaking freely from her own soul and showing her good faith. Her voice is that good - it tells you all you need to know. When she signs her beautiful big hit, 'Saving My Love For You', you really understand, because it's true and Erma is a true soul sister.
Changing places with some of today's top composers, Erma interprets their feelings as they, in their moment of deepest love, hope and prayer, probably felt. What makes her readings of 'By The Time I Get To Phoenix', 'For Once In My Life', and 'Baby I Love You' so new and religiously exhilarating is that she adds her own personal sense of having been there, too. And when it's all communicated like a poem penned especially for you - that's soul. From the soul sister herself, Miss Erma Franklin!
I think all of the songs on the CD are great. Some of my favorites include the bluesy gospel tunes 'Big Boss Man', 'Don't Catch The Dog's Bone', and 'Don't Have The Right To Cry'. Some may forget that Erma was the first to record 'Piece of My Heart' (Hot 100 # 62, R&B #10), and although Janis Joplin had quite a bit of success with it, no one sang it with as much soul as Erma; the original is worth hearing. 'Baby What You Want Me To Do' has a great beat, while "Open Up Your Soul" and 'Don't Have The Right To Cry' remind me of gospel tunes I've heard in church. 'What Kind of Girl (Do You Think I Am)' is a cute song that is the typical girl song popularized during the 60's which speaks of not wanting to be mistaken for being a bad girl. 'Don't Blame Me' is a really cool blues number, and when she sings 'Hello Again' and 'Never Let Me Go' her voice may remind you of Della Reese. Whereas on 'It's Over' she sounds a little edgier, like Ruth Brown and Sugar Pie DeSanto. 'Never Again' highlights her dynamic range and use of emotions as the song builds to its climax. I enjoy the upbeat R&B gospel like song 'Don't Wait Too Long', and of course the mysterious and enchanting 'Abracadabra'.
Erma also does a wonderful interpretation of jazz and pop standards: 'Time After Time', 'Everytime We Say Goodbye', 'The Man I Love' and 'Detour Ahead'. She basically sang everything well, and maybe part of the problem may have been that record companies didn't know how to promote her, and as a result tried a little bit of everything while hoping for a hit. This was fine by Erma because she had attended Clark College in Atlanta and had a business career at IBM. She said singing was her hobby!!
This fair priced import will provide the listener with an excellent overview of her recording career at Epic and Shout. I also recommend this to people who enjoy 60's blues and R&B. And although Erma Franklin died in 2002 at 64, her music and the contributions she made during her recording career will be with us forever.
Erma Franklin and gospel queen, Albertina Walker graced the first part of Aretha's concert at Madison Square Garden in the '70s and brought the house down before Aretha appeared. I remember that concert being professionally filmed, but I've never seen any footage.
Erma was unique as was Carolyn. Their styles were completely shaped by their experience of singing in black Baptist churches, but even so, they were totally different singers. Erma was more bluesy, but like her sister Aretha, that gospel fervor would come out at a moment's notice, with Erma 'going to the floor' screaming and testifying. Carolyn, in the studio, was not as strong as her two siblings, but she rose to the occasion when she had to follow Erma in concert! There were two shows that night, one with Carolyn opening, the other with Erma opening. They 'tore up Jack!'
These songs are great, but it's too bad she didn't record more. I'm sure there's quite a bit 'in the vaults' that we'll get later on, but for those who don't know Aretha's sister, this is a good way to 'get to know' her. There is in existence a 'live' concert with Erma from 1968, recorded in San Francisco. Do a google.
I only wish that Erma Franklin had done more solo work during that late '60s - early '70s period when soul was at its height. She is no second to her sister, but an equal, even though she did sing backup for her. Erma has her own voice - a completely different timbre from her sister's - but rich, resonant and powerful. From what I can tell, she also had a range that easily covered close to 4 octaves like Aretha.
You should be clicking 'BUY NOW'. Just get this record.
The album opens with Jim Webb’s ‘By The Time I Get To Phoenix’. Led by an orchestra, which beautifully frames Erma’s voice, it is an introduction to the singer in a traditional sound (at the time) for a vocalist. After that, the strings are ditched, and gritty funk is what holds for the rest of the album. The first side is highlighted by The Doors’ “Light My Fire” led by a funky bass line with a solo section for the horns in the middle of the track. Stevie Wonder’s ‘For Once In My Life’ is propelled by a dancing rhythm section with a hot sax solo in it. She also has a couple quality original funk work outs that help round out side one.
Side two opens with a blistering version of ‘Hold On I’m Coming’, which is followed by the one stripped-down ballad on the album, ‘Saving My Love For You’. Now for what I find to be most interesting…she covers ‘Son Of A Preacher Man’. She does an excellent job with it, but the story of that song is where the interest lies. It was originally written for her little sister, Aretha. I’ve read two stories: 1) she cut it, but didn’t feel it fit with the other material that was going on the particular album she was working on so Jerry Wexler passed the song onto Dusty Springfield (Wikipedia). 2) She didn’t like the sexual content of the song and passed on it, which then led it to Dusty Springfield (that was in some liner notes I read, although I can’t remember for what album). Either way, they both agree that after hearing Dusty Springfield’s version (and even more so, after it became a hit) Aretha cut it for her 1970 album, 'This Girl’s In Love With You'. However, in between those two (along with many others that covered the song in that in between time period) Erma dropped a great version on this album. ‘Gotta Find Me A Lover (24 Hours A Day)’ is a straight ahead Soul rocker and the album ends with a cover of little sister’s ‘Baby I Love You’ that is fairly similar to the original.
With a great band and terrific performances all around, this is a great record to add to your funk collection when you run across it.