Buried on side b of Aretha Franklin’s 1974 LP Let Me In Your Life, is the little-known groove of “Eight Days on The Road.” Aretha moves through the track steadily, vocally growing as she makes her way back to her baby. The lyrical content leaves much to interpretation, where she’s been, what she’s been doing, but one thing is clear: She’s heading home.
Originally cut by Howard Tate in 1972, Aretha’s version is the second of three from that era. Rock band Foghat also cut “Eight Days On The Road” in 1974, releasing their version in October. “Eight Days On The Road” doesn’t have an illustrious or storied history, nor was it a big hit for anyone that cut it. Aretha’s version was issued as the b-side to “Ain’t Nothing Like The Real Thing”, but did not chart. There are no known live performances of the record by Aretha.
Musically, once again it’s Aretha at the piano that leads this song, although the bass and percussion both do their part as well. The addition of the organ, which was not present in Howard Tate’s original, makes it a little more Aretha. The same goes for the background vocal, which is the ingredient that solidifies it as an Aretha arrangement. Aretha’s masterful ear for backgrounds shines again here, as they range from a “say what”, to echoes and complimentary reinforcement of Aretha’s lead vocal.
Listen to Aretha go for “8 Days On The Road”: