In December, members of Vinyl Me, Please Essentials will receive an exclusive deluxe edition of Aretha Franklin’s I Never Loved A Man The Way I Love You, the singer’s breakthrough album. This new edition was remastered all-analog from the master tapes by Ryan Smith at Sterling Sound and pressed on pink and purple swirl vinyl at GZ. Read below for the details of our release. You can sign up to receive it here.
Alexandra Berenson, Head A&R: If you’re aware of this record, there’s no way you can’t call it essential. If you’re not aware of this record, and you listen to it, there’s no way you can’t call it essential. It has Aretha Franklin’s version of “Respect,” which is arguably her most famous song ever. It’s basically in every Top Albums Ever Made list that exists. In my opinion, it’s the most cohesive Aretha Franklin record; it doesn’t feel like an album full of singles, it feels like a full record. It’s quite rare for somebody who was making this type of music at that time. The whole point was to make singles, and there was filler on the record; I think this album is all killer, no filler.
It’s interesting when we do these things, because I react to records purely from a sonic perspective, so it’s really difficult to verbalize the feeling that you get when you hear a record. But I have a gut feeling every time I hear this record, that it’s important and beautiful and more people should hear it.
Andrew Winistorfer, Classics A&R: This is an opportunity for us. Aretha Franklin died recently, and we’re going to have another release, so we’re working closely with Atlantic — who’s working closely with the estate — on some of the first vinyl reissues since she passed. We don’t take that lightly — we’re the first Never Loved a Man reissue since she died — we really put a lotta thought into what the package looks like, and everything else.
AB: The jacket’s on pearlescent rainbow stock: if you look at the cover, it’s like a ’60s prom dream. And everything about it feels really ethereal, and beautiful, and kind of girly, and… I can’t fuckin’ wait! The vinyl color is pink-and-white-galaxy; there’s a lotta power and femininity around this package, you know?
AW: And it’s remastered, all Triple-A, just like a Classics record, basically.
Cameron Schaefer: Ryan sent the lacquers to QRP first, who plated it — meaning they made the metal work — and then shipped it to GZ, who actually did the pressing, because they handle our Essentials records, and can do the effect we wanted. So it’s a slight variation on our normal process. We’re just trying it out to see if it improves the sound or not, we’ll see. The rationale is that a lacquer is an item where the minute you cut it, it’s slowly deteriorating, so it’s super-easy to mess up. You want to minimize the time between when the lacquer’s cut, and when it’s actually plated and turned into metal work, so the chemical reaction kinda freezes everything. That’s why we’re trying it: instead of shipping the lacquers from Nashville to GZ outside of Prague — which is obviously a little bit of a trip — it’s a lot quicker to ship it from Nashville to Salina, Kansas, get it plated, and then you can ship metal work, and it doesn’t matter.
Levi Sheppard, VMP Production: When we ship to QRP, they get the package and they immediately send it to a room that’s chilled where it’ll ultimately get plated. Whereas, if we send it to Prague, it’s a lot longer to get there and it has to go through Customs, and you have no control over it at that time. So, it’s a little bit of nuance to get it plated at QRP, but ultimately it should be a better project.