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Thursday
Aug082019

ARETHA FRANKLIN - Amazing Grace (DVD)

"In Aretha Franklin’s revelatory concert film Amazing Grace, she barely speaks a word. Aside from one muffled request for water and a hushed discussion with her musical director, there’s not a peep out of her. Instead, she focuses her concentration wholly on the spirit of the gospel music she came to perform during the film’s historic two-day shoot, which took place in January 1972 at the New Temple Baptist Mission church in Los Angeles. “She came for a church service,” the late singer’s niece Sabrina Owens, who controls the estate, said to the Guardian. “The way she conducted herself was totally different than what you would see at one of her pop concerts. Her eyes were closed. Her head was thrown back. She was focused entirely on something higher.

To witness the whiplash contrast between that self-effacement, and the star power of her vocal performance, is just one element which greatly distinguishes watching the Amazing Grace film from listening to the album of the same name, which came out late in 1972. That double-set became Franklin’s biggest-selling album, as well as the top-grossing gospel collection of all time. Meanwhile, the film lay uncompleted in the vaults for another 38 years, hobbled by gobsmacking mistakes, poor planning and, eventually, by Franklin’s health issues. After a complex, fraught and dragged-out series of events, the movie was finally completed by the producer Alan Elliott last fall..." - The Guardian

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