Rick contacted me about the session, but he didn't know who in hell was coming in. I said, "Who you got?" He said, "Aretha Franklin." I said, "Boy, you better get your damn shoes on. You getting someone who can sing." Even the Memphis guys didn't really know who in the hell she was. I said, "Man, this woman gonna knock you out." They're all going, "Big deal!" When she come in there and sit down at the piano and hit that first chord, everybody was just like little bees just buzzing around the queen. You could tell by the way she hit the piano the gig was up. It was, "Let's get down to serious business." That first chord she hit was nothing we'd been demoing, and nothing none of them cats in Memphis had been, either. We'd just been dumb-dumb playing, but this was the real thing. That's the prettiest session picture I can ever remember. If I'd had a camera, I'd have a great film of that session, because I can still see it in my mind's eye, just how it was - Spooner on the organ, Moman playing guitar, Aretha at the piano - it was beautiful, better than any session I've ever seen, and I seen a bunch of 'em.'
Spooner Oldham, the weedy keyboard player who is most known for never playing the same licks twice and who is ordinarily the most reticent of men, speaks in similar superlatives. 'I was hired to play keyboards. She was gonna stand up in front of the microphone and sing. She was showing us this song she had brought down there with her, she hit that magic chord when Wexler was going up the little steps to the control room, and I just stopped. I said, "Now, look, I'm not trying to cop out or nothing. I know I was hired to play piano, but I wish you'd let her play that thing, and I could get on organ and electric." And that's the way it was. It was a good, honest move, and one of the best things I ever done - and I didn't do nothing.
Peter Guralnick (Sweet Soul Music: Rhythm and Blues and the Southern Dream of Freedom)