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Atlantic Studios, New York City, January 1969

Aretha Franklin is captured mid-take during the recording sessions for her cover of The Band’s anthem The Weight, in Atlantic’s recording studio in New York, in January 1969. Duane Allman contributed the trademark mournful, tasteful slide guitar that opens the track and provides the answers to the singer’s questions throughout.

The song, produced by Jerry Wexler and Arif Mardin and engineered by Tom Dowd, appeared on Franklin’s 1970 covers album This Girl’s In Love With You. “Aretha heard it and said she had no idea what the lyrics meant”, said Wexler; but this didn’t stop her turning in a flawlessly expressive, emotionally resonant performance.

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