Blues and jazz converge with big band on this album cut from Aretha Franklin’s second Columbia Records LP, 1962’s The Electrifying Aretha Franklin. “I Told You So” was written by John Leslie McFarland. McFarland gained prominence in 1960 by composing Elvis Presley’s “Stuck On You”, his first single after serving in the U.S. Army. He was also the lead composer on Aretha’s Columbia debut, contributing half of album’s twelve cuts, including the knockout lead single “Won’t Be Long”.
For her sophomore album, Columbia paired her with a big band-style sound, which shines through here, and creates an interesting mix with the jazzy style of the piano (which may or may not be Aretha). The song has a slow build, and Aretha really leans into it. She flows effortlessly over the arrangement and closes with a strong vocal showcase. On the final two stanzas, she unleashes the strength of her voice. The final “so let me tell you with a last goodbye” pops when she adds a growl to her powerful delivery of the line. It’s a great diamond in the Columbia rough.
Listen to Aretha’s “I Told You So”