The King’s Korner – Remembering Aretha

For most of us that grew up loving, singing, crying, romancing, and making babies by the music of Aretha Franklin, we will miss her deeply. I don’t know of a single person who does not love Aretha’s music. Her music covers many genre’s from Gospel, Jazz, R & B, Soul, Classical, Opera, and some of the new categories created for today’s music.

Being born and raised up Chester, Pa., Aretha was a staple at the nite spots & hot spots in and around town. From Candy Johnson’s famous house parties (she had the absolute best),

• to St. James High School (where

“we” were not allowed),

• to the Armory (Holy City),

• to the Hullabaloo (9th & Booth),

• to the Stardust Lounge and Boots

N Bonnets, (both on I-95)

• to the Ward’s Grill (3rd & Ward),

• to Gill’s Bar (2nd & Kerlin),

• to Diane Hayes Lounge (2nd &

Hayes) ,

• to the Bull Moose Bar (on 3rd

St),

• to Blackie’s Bar,

• to Carter’s Bar on 7th & Lloyd The one I can’t leave out because every day on my way to school I could hear and see the party going on in there….I can’t remember the name of the bar, but it was very big and green, and had a balcony, were folks would lean over to sing to us. It was on the corner of 7th & Central St. (I think - the 7 Seas) I am sure that mentioning these places brought a smile to some of your faces… now add in Aretha’s music and the music of those times… I’ve got you to a full grin!!!! These were some great times and days in the city of Chester!!! There was a lot to do, and no shortage of places to do it in.

I was introduced to “The Queen” early - not sure if it was Mom or Dad who did the introduction. Dad was on the jazz side, and Mom was on the Gospel side. This is before Dr. Feelgood and Respect!! It very well may have been Gospel first because growing up in Bethany Baptist under the late Rev. D. A. Scott, then moving to Shiloh Baptist Church under Rev. L. J. Freeman, and being in the youth choirs (where we always wanted to strut our stuff with the latest hot and moving songs) Aretha Franklin was one of the top vocalist that we emulated. Her songs and soul touch so many around the world, who could ever “not” be moved when she sang Oh Mary Don’t You Weep, Precious Lord, or Packing Up. Her jazz music at Columbia has mostly gone unnoticed, but there was some really great music from that genre. Aretha’s national recognition came with Respect (which was first done by Otis Redding, and used in the Civil Rights Movement), then of course the always classic Female National Anthem - Dr. Feelgood. With a career spanning decades, “Our Queen” has brought music to all generations, and in all type of situations. She has stood and performed in front of neighborhoods and common folk around the world to King’s and Queen’s, Heads of Countries, Presidents, Religious Figures, and the lists go on. I am very sad to see the end of “Royalty”, but so glad to have been able to live in the time of her genius. I know that this city feels the same way I do about Aretha. As a product of Chester, I am very happy to be able to give back something positive through these writings. This is my written tribute to “Our Queen”, Ms. Aretha Franklin. I hope you will enjoy this and upcoming articles as we turn back the hands of time …….musically. Coming soon I will do a musical tribute to “Our Queen” on my weekly Radio Show. My tribute will consist of her music, the facts and figures about her life, and my personal evening at dinner with her. So if you love Aretha stay tuned!!!