One of the most sought-after unreleased Aretha Franklin recordings, “Springtime In New York” is finally out there for the world to hear for the first time. Recorded in Miami in April of 1974 during the sessions for 1974’s With Everything I Feel In Me, the song is unique compared to most other Aretha Franklin recordings.
First off, it clocks in at a whopping 8 minutes in length, longer than possibly any song Aretha ever recorded in the studio. During the 70’s, Aretha had a few recordings reach lengths of 5, 6 and even 7 minutes, but this may be the longest studio track Aretha ever recorded. Structurally, it sounds more like a sketch of a few songs than one complete idea.
I imagined “Springtime In New York” to be an airy, sweet song with a blooming composure. Instead, it opens with nearly 3 minutes of Aretha at the piano, holding chord progressions and “worrying” notes as she describes her anticipation for the season and the attributes of springtime in New York, such as everything coming up roses and daffodils.
Suddenly just after the 3 minute mark, things pick up as the drums, guitar, and bass all join in for an upbeat moment. Moment being the keyword here. This rousing upbeat moment lasts less than 20 seconds, and then it’s right back to Aretha and the piano.
Finally, shortly before the 6 minute mark, the whole bank comes back in, at a pace slower than before, and they play the song out instrumentally until the 8 minute mark.
Listen to the magnanimous “Springtime In New York” below: