Song 273: Aretha Franklin, “Don’t Let Me Lose This Dream” (1967)

Aretha_Franklin-I_Never_Loved_A_Man_The_Way_I_Love_You

Aretha Franklin’s record I Never Loved a Man the Way I Love You has a track listing that’s almost like a greatest-hits record: the sultry title track, “Respect,” and “Do Right Woman, Do Right Man,” a song that rivals “Respect” for its use of demanding, well, respect from men. Tucked near the end of the albums first side, however, is a song that may not stand out like those others, but it’s damn great.

“Don’t Let Me Lose This Dream” sounds like the kind of stuff Dusty Springfield was cranking out in the late sixties: it’s got a light, bossa nova feel, completely with a mellow trumpet and clicking, lounge-ready percussion. And for a while, the song sounds like it’s going to be just as sleepy as it feels. Until that chorus.

That chorus! I mean, it’s not like it’s a shockingly great piece of music, and it doesn’t jolt you in its audacity. But it lightens the song unexpectedly, and I think it’s gorgeous—especially the way Franklin sings “baby, baby hold on” in a way that sounds less like begging and more like coaxing. Like all her work in I Never Loved a Man the Way I Love You, it’s a great performance, and one that hints at the greatness to come.

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