Aretha Franklin brought color, texture, and movement to so many songs over the years. We all know her classics after a few notes. But I was unfamiliar with “Only the One You Love” when I first heard it, and loved the record as soon as I heard it. The song was released in 1967 as part of the album Take It like You Give It on Columbia Records. It featured production from various musicians such as Clyde Otis, who produced this song. Aretha, born in 1942, Memphis, Tennessee, began singing as a child in her father’s church in Detroit, Michigan. She recorded first as a teenager and was a veteran in the music industry by the age of 25, when this record was released. Recording well over 40 albums, Aretha amassed countless hit singles, and has been given too many awards to name. The album Take It Like You Give It represents a special part of her earlier career before earning the title of Queen of Soul.
The analog recording of this record is warm and clear. It features some incredibly simple yet sincere melodies; a secret which has always given Aretha’s voice the proper vehicle to drive with so many great producers, song writers, or arrangers. I was not able to find who the musicians were who played on this record, but I suspect it was The Wrecking Crew, who played on many of Columbia Records recording sessions during the 60s. The beginning notes of the guitar become the sweet loop to contrast what sounds like pain and forgiveness in Aretha’s voice. The bass is under the guitar and the piano as the drummer does an incredible job of walking the pace, slowly, yet noticeably together. It’s a beautiful tune to play for anyone who has fallen out of love, only to fall right back in.