So Damn Happy

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Tracy E. Hopkins
Aretha Franklin's first album since 1998's A Rose Is Still a Rose -- which spawned the hit title track produced by Lauryn Hill -- finds the Queen of Soul in good spirits. The aptly named So Damn Happy features the infectious single "The Only Thing Missin'," which recalls the feel-good soul of the Staple Singers, and a guest appearance by the Queen of Hip-Hop Soul, Mary J. Blige, on two contemporary, upbeat tracks -- "Holdin' On" and "No Matter What." Although it sounds as if Franklin has been keeping abreast of the musical times, the soul of this preacher's daughter is still informed by a reverence for the gospel music of her youth. On the inspirational "Good News,"...
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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Tracy E. Hopkins
Aretha Franklin's first album since 1998's A Rose Is Still a Rose -- which spawned the hit title track produced by Lauryn Hill -- finds the Queen of Soul in good spirits. The aptly named So Damn Happy features the infectious single "The Only Thing Missin'," which recalls the feel-good soul of the Staple Singers, and a guest appearance by the Queen of Hip-Hop Soul, Mary J. Blige, on two contemporary, upbeat tracks -- "Holdin' On" and "No Matter What." Although it sounds as if Franklin has been keeping abreast of the musical times, the soul of this preacher's daughter is still informed by a reverence for the gospel music of her youth. On the inspirational "Good News," she gives "glory to God in the highest," and she sings the secular love songs "You Are My Joy" and "Falling Out of Love" with a sense of spiritual devotion. With So Damn Happy, fans young and old will appreciate Franklin's ability to incorporate both classic and neo-soul flavor into her timeless music.
All Music Guide - John Bush
During the five years that separated So Damn Happy from her previous album, A Rose Is Still a Rose, Aretha Franklin made the celebrity-gossip pages many more times than she earned airplay on the radio. Neatly side-stepping her problems with the law including the mysterious circumstances that surrounded the fire at her home, Aretha's return to the studio illustrates that her power lies not in managing her career but in putting across any song that comes her way. Recording mostly in Detroit with a small group, she tempered the hip-hop inclinations of A Rose Is Still a Rose to deliver a refreshing though admittedly sterilized update of her '70s records. Various producers and songwriters -- including Troy Taylor, Ron "Amen-Ra" Lawrence, and Jam & Lewis -- give her backgrounds composed of earthy, acoustic-driven soul, similar to contemporary records by India.Arie or Jill Scott. Most of the songs, led by "The Only Thing Missin'," the title track, and "Holdin' On," are up to a high level, catchy and easy to understand all the better to simply luxuriate in Aretha's powerful voice. Also, two mild concessions to the hip-hop world end up paying off: guest Mary J. Blige arranged the backing vocals for two songs, both of which reach a level not seen since the days of the Sweet Inspirations, while producer Ron "Amen-Ra" Lawrence delivered an organic arrangement for a song called "Wonderful" that evokes the glory days of '70s soul more than any other song here. Aretha shouldn't need to resort to overkill to proclaim her joy at making music; the songs on So Damn Happy are all the proof her fans need to understand that her talent remains undiminished nearly 50 years after her debut as a secular act.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 9/16/2003
  • Label: Arista
  • UPC: 828765017442
  • Catalog Number: 50174

Album Credits

Performance Credits
Aretha Franklin Primary Artist, Piano, Background Vocals
Lew Soloff Trumpet
Burt Bacharach Rhythm
David Foster Synthesizer Strings
Bobby Ross Avila Guitar, Keyboards
Gloria Agostini Harp
Ralphe Armstrong Bass
Mary J. Blige Background Vocals
Randy Brecker Trumpet
Alfred Brown Viola
Kenneth Burward-Hoy Viola
William Bush Keyboards
Gordon Chambers Background Vocals
Robert Chausow Violin
Brenda Corbett Background Vocals
Paulinho Da Costa Percussion
Sandra Dance Background Vocals
Barry J. Eastmond Keyboards
Vernon D. Fails fender rhodes
Winterton Garvey Violin
Gerald Tarack Violin
Joyce Hammann Violin
Perry Hughes Guitar
Regis Iandiorio Violin
Birch Johnson Trombone
Karen Karlsrud Violin
Olivia Koppell Violin, Viola
Ricky Lawson Drums
Jesse Levy Cello
Cindy Mizelle Background Vocals
Sharon Moe French Horn
Kermit Moore Cello
Tommy Morgan Harmonica, Soloist
Eugene J. Moye Cello
Nate Neblett Drums
Keith O'Quinn Trombone
Sheila Reinhold Violin
Andy Stein Violin
Neil Stubenhaus Bass
Troy Taylor Bass, Drums, Keyboards, Background Vocals, Multi Instruments
Roger Wendt French Horn
Cenovia Cummins Violin
Anthony Posk Violin
Anthony Kadleck Trumpet
Michael Hart Thompson Guitar
Norman West Synthesizer, Bass, Piano, Keyboards
Rick Williams Guitar
Alexander Vselensky Violin
Belinda Whitney Violin
Adi Yeshaya Strings, Conductor, Horn, Keyboards
Byung-Kook Kwak Violin
Melodie Hand Clapping
James "Big Jim" Wright Keyboards
Darryl Houston Organ
Ron "Amen-Ra" Lawrence Keyboards, Multi Instruments
George Flynn Trombone
Margeret Th. Hjaltested Viola
Michael Baker Strings, Horn
Isreal Chorberg Violin
Myiia "Sunny" Davis Background Vocals
Sara Divine Background Vocals
B.J. Hand Clapping
Leo Grinhauz Cello
Susan Heerema Violin
Regine Lambert Hand Clapping
Kenya Lucas Hand Clapping
Delant "Butta" Murphy Hand Clapping
Shelly Ponder Background Vocals
Mildred Scott Background Vocals
Technical Credits
Loudon Wainwright III Composer
Ray Lynch Composer
Aretha Franklin Composer, Producer, Engineer
Earl Klugh Composer
Burt Bacharach Composer, Producer, String Arrangements
Carolyn Franklin Composer
Jerry Leiber Composer
Aleese Simmons Composer
Louis Alfred III Engineer
Mary J. Blige Composer, Vocal Arrangements
William Bush Arranger, drum programming
Gordon Chambers Composer, Producer, Vocal Arrangements
Barry J. Eastmond Arranger, Producer, Engineer
Jimmy Jam Producer
Terry Lewis Composer, Producer
Bruce Miller Composer
Greg Phillinganes Digital Editing
Michael J. Powell Engineer
L.A. Reid Executive Producer
Rob Shrock Synthesizer Arrangements
Allen Sides Engineer
Troy Taylor Composer, Programming, Producer, Vocal Editing
Philip White Composer
Jed Leiber Composer
James Harris Composer
Norman West Composer, Producer, Engineer
Rick Williams Composer
Tom Coyne Mastering
Adi Yeshaya Arranger, Horn Arrangements
Carl Robinson Engineer
James "Big Jim" Wright Composer
Iz drum programming
Ron "Amen-Ra" Lawrence Composer, Producer, Engineer, drum programming
Katrina Willis Composer
EMI Ferguson Digital Editing
Myiia "Sunny" Davis Composer
Richard Thomas Jennings Art Direction
Rowie Nomeri Engineer
Steve Pageot Engineer
David Chase Digital Editing
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Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    She Still Shines

    In a genre that is filled with so many untalented songstresses and overly mechanical music, Aretha steps in and a breath of fresh air enters into the forefront. How many women at 60+ years of age can vocally do what the Queen of Soul does? No matter how much you listen to this CD it is completely evident that Aretha Franklin is a complete milestone...a vocal living legend....and she enjoys it. This is by far one of the very best CDs of our time from a recording legend. She still shines....she still shines. Superb...simply superb. Diva's earn the right to cary such a title...everything today is all to often given without any respect to true talent and labor. Let us remember to, Aretha is still earning Grammy Awards and rightfully so. "Wonderful" earned her one of her latest for this new millennium. The woman cannot be overlooked....she has the magic touch. A toast to you fair lady: Dame Aretha Franklin.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    It's good for the soul -

    Aretha Franklin's soulful voice moves me - always has. She just jumps in and lets loose. Sometimes it's a little screechy here but there are some amazing people behind her in this endeavor and it shows. A few songs are incredibly strong, they're melodious and rhythmic yet they never stray from what makes Aretha - Aretha - soul. Thank-you Aretha for giving us some of your updated vocal artistry, for trying something new but being true to you as you.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    NOT SAD AT ALL!!!!!!!!

    I can't believe that someone would actually call this album sad. Aretha is a legend, and if her album came out today I would be first in line to buy it. This just comes from someone that has no taste in music at all!!!! This is one of her best. Actually anything by her is the best.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Not that happy

    This is a sad album that should've never been made. If artists of old would've just saved their money back then, I guarentee 90% of these albums would never be made today. This album should've been called "runnin out of royalties". Tell it like it is. Then she puts the same song twice on this album.Why?? There is no difference between the two. I guess it's better than singing the powerball song. Finally the song "everybody's somebodys fool"....This from the same person that sung Respect?? C'mon. Just a little bit.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Absolutely Awsome!!!

    This cd is one of her best works. Without a doubt the Queen of Souls vocals are still estradinaire and her message reaches across generations.

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