June 19, 2011

Ain't No Way

How did I spend this Saturday night? Seeing the Glee Tour Live. And I live to tell the tale. Actually, it was a fun show. And many of the singers, especially Lea Michele, Amber Riley, Darren Criss, Chris Colfer, and Cory Monteith, turned out to have the vocal chops to more than hold their own in a huge arena.

One potential hurdle is having the cast tackle masterpieces from a different era. There aren't many records more perfect than Aretha Franklin's "Ain't No Way," written by one of Aretha's greatest collaborators, her sister Carolyn:

Here, without the benefit of the great instrumental track of Aretha's (or the background vocals of Erma and Carolyn Franklin and Cissy Houston), Amber Riley gave a live vocal worthy of Aretha. Here's the studio version:

And here, as a special bonus, is another of Aretha's greatest performance, the heartbreaking "Angel,"co-written by Carolyn Franklin and Sonny Saunders, and produced by Quincy Jones: