Film Screening & Discussion: Amazing Grace
Rated G (2018) 1 hr 27 mins
When Aretha Franklin was planning her fourth live album (Amazing Grace), Warner Bros agreed to film the session in 1972. Recorded over two nights and featuring Reverend James Cleveland and his Southern California Community Choir, the documentary also includes the core of Aretha’s best band ever, including soul drummer extraordinaire Bernard Purdie and guitarist Chuck Rainey. Aretha’s father, Rev C.L. Franklin makes an appearance as does a joyously happy Mick Jagger. Amazing Grace would become the highest selling album of Franklin's career and the most popular Gospel album of all time.
However, this film was never released publicly due to issues with matching the sound that director Sydney Pollack found to be exasperating. The film languished for almost 40 years before new digital technology was introduced to match the sound to picture and make a film out of the raw footage. Forty-seven years later, this film is a testimony to the greatness of Aretha Franklin and a time-machine window into a moment in American musical and social history.
Dr. Tom Shaker, an independent scholar and filmmaker joins us to share insight into Aretha Franklin's impact in American musical history and will facilitate a discussion after the film.
Shaker is a retired professor whose research interests include music history, pop culture and film and television. Tom has been hosting “The Soul Serenade” on WICN for over a decade, keeping classic soul, funk and R&B music alive on the airwaves. He is co-author of A Treasury of Rhode Island Jazz & Swing Musicians (2015) and co-producer of the award-winning documentary Do It Man! The Story of The Celebrity Club (2018).
Free and open to all
Made possible by the Friends of Barrington Public Library