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Sunday 26 May 2019
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Local R.E.S.P.E.C.T for Aretha

Aretha Franklin
Aretha Franklin

Aretha Franklin, known around the world as the Queen of Soul passed away yesterday at age 76.

As soon as the news broke about Franklin’s passing, Facebook was abuzz with posts and comments.

Newsday spoke with some of the people who recalled Franklin coming to Trinidad to perform in the 1970s.

Michael Sabeeney, husband of the late Kim Sabeeney said his wife was the mastermind behind bringing Franklin to perform in Trinidad. He said, “My wife got onto (American record company) Motown and did what she had to do to make it happen.”

His daughter Judy Talbut-Paul said the show was also made possible through WWL promotions, whose directors were Mack Ward, Cairo Williams and George Lawrence.

However, after what Sabeeney described as a great hour and a half performance by Franklin, backed by her own band, he said when Franklin returned home she told the US media TT promoters had put her in a “horse stable” to sing. Franklin performed at the Queen’s Park Savannah, which at the time still held horse races.

After her friend Otis Redding died in a plane crash in 1967, and a personal incident in 1984, Franklin had cited a fear of flying that prevented her from travelling overseas, opting to perform only in US. Show promoter Frank Martineau recalled Franklin’s fear of flying, lamenting the number of occasions his team tried bringing her back to perform in TT.

Musician and producer Carl “Beaver” Henderson also regretted not getting Franklin back in TT to perform. “When we tried to get her to come down to TT to perform here she had slowed down on travelling. But Aretha’s voice is the one on which I measure all vocalists performances. It’s what most influenced my career in how I approach producing vocals,” Henderson said.

He added that Franklin’s Say a Little Prayer was the first record he ever bought, while Martin Raymond said his first record he ever bought was Franklin’s version of Bridge Over Troubled Waters.

Entertainer Mark “Ataklan” Jiminez posted, “R.E.S.P.E.C.T..! farewell to the Queen. Travel well Aretha Franklin and Thank You...”

Fellow entertainer Nikki Crosby posted, “One of my all time favourite songs. Thank you Aretha! We are put on this earth for a short time. I’ve been honoured to have shared the same time with you here on earth. Thank you for all the great music that will live on way after you’re gone #Naturalwoman #Respect #Greatmusician”.

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