Sippican Cottage

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A Man Who Has Nothing In Particular To Recommend Him Discusses All Sorts of Subjects at Random as Though He Knew Everything

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The video quality is bad. The audio quality is worse. It’s thirty years old, easy. None of these singers are showing up in Victoria’s Secret catalogs anytime soon. There’ll be no fist-pumping sisters gettin’ loud segue into the trite Respect, which I always think of as an Otis Redding song anyway.

Is there anything this good on TV now? Is anybody making music this sophisticated any more, and marrying it to a vision with musicians and singers who can carry it? And if they did, would we know enough to point a camera at it? We point cameras at most everything nowadays, ask Paris Hilton; why is this so rare, and wonderful?

It’s church music and tin pan alley and a hint of Beale Street. As far as Aretha Franklin is concerned, it’s about as obscure a number as she has, although it was a hit at the time. It’s undoubtedly my favorite of everything she’s ever done.

The cicadas trill outside. The breeze, freighted with myriad scents from the garden, comes softly through the window. The cat dozes on the chair. The birds are a quiet riot. The sun is warming to its task.

Aretha is singing.

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