It’s extremely interesting to listen to the songs Aretha Franklin covered on Runnin’ Out Of Fools in comparison to the covers that predated the album on Columbia Records. After years of trying to position Aretha as a formidable artist on her own, with unique and singular arrangements, it’s as if the Columbia staff threw their hands up and said, “just give her the same ones that were hits!”
That’s especially the case with Nancy Wilson’s 1964 hit “(You Don’t Know) How Glad I Am”. Recorded and released in the same year, Aretha’s version mimics Nancy’s version almost to a T. Aspects of the production vary, but the instrumentation and application of those instruments is nearly identical. After 4 years of no hits, everyone was unapologetically desperate to notch something on the charts. The album’s title cut did get some traction, but the rest of the album went unnoticed.
Aretha lays on the sweetness thick on “How Glad I Am”. She impeccably follows the yo-yo-ing of the melody, and her technique is exquisite as she rolls out the “when you don’t know, you don’t know”’s. There’s also a “tip top” she tacks on at the end of “my love has no top”, which is one of the only true unique moments on Aretha’s take.
Listen to Aretha declare “How Glad I Am”: