Carolyn Franklin

Band members                             Related acts

- Carolyn Franklin (aka Candy Carroll) (RIP 1988) - vocals,




- Candy Carroll 

Aretha Franklin (sister)

- Erma Franklin (sister)





Genre: soul

Rating: **** (4 stars)

Title:  Baby Dynamite!

Company: RCA Victor

Catalog: LSP-4160

Year: 1969

Country/State: Memphis, Tennessee

Grade (cover/record): VG+ / VG+

Comments: --

Available: 2

Catalog ID: 1764

Price: $20.00


It's tough enough having to cope with gifted siblings, but can you imagine having been the late Carolyn Franklin?  Here you are, a gifted artist, but no matter what you do, you're bound to remain in your older sister's shadow.  How in the world would you ever begin to compete with Aretha Franklin (to say nothing of sister Erma Franklin)?


Like her sisters, Carolyn was raised in the church, performing as a member of her father C.L. Franklin's Detroit New Bethel Baptist Church.  Following a stint at the University of Southern California where she obtained a degree in music theory, Carolyn's professional career saw her start working as a backup singer for sister Aretha.  Working under the stage name Candy Carroll, in 1963 she was signed by Lloyd Price's small Detroit-based Double L label, recording a pair of instantly obscure supper-club jazz styled 45s:

-1963's 'Your Cheatin' Heart' b/w 'You've Come A Long Way From St. Louis' (Double L catalog number 725A / B)

- 1964's 'Easy Living' b/w 'When I Fall In Love' (Double L catalog number 731A / B)


Dropped by Double L, over the next four years Franklin remained active in music writing ('Baby, Baby, Baby', 'Save Me', etc.), touring and recording with Aretha.  Perhaps based in part on sisters Aretha and Erma's commercial successes, 1969 saw Franklin finally get her big break via a contract with RCA Victor (not a label particularly known for soul artists).  Produced by Buzz Willis, "Baby Dynamite!" served as a wonderful introduction to Franklin's multiple skills.  Comparisons to Aretha and Erma were only natural, and at least to my ears Carolyn came out well in the competition.  Gifted with a voice that was somewhat higher and perhaps a little less versatile than her sisters (check out her performance on 'Its True Im Gonna Miss You'), Carolyn was still a gifted singer, with a knack for zeroing in on a song's hook.  Carolyn's talents as a songwriter (something her sisters were notoriously reluctant to display) were showcased on the killer mid-tempo pieces 'I Dont Want To Lose You' and 'Boxer'.  A pleasure through and through, virtually every one of the ten songs was worth hearing, the only real misstep being a supper club rendition of 'There I Go (Se per te ce soltanta quell uomo)'.  Personnel favorites - the self-penned 'Boxer', 'Alone' and 'More Than Ever Before'. 


Probably the best of her five studio albums.  In case anyone was interested, the liner notes were penned by her father, the Reverend C.L. Franklin.  Always wondered how he felt about secular material like 'On A Back Street' ...  


"Baby Dynamite!" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Reality   (Lloyd Price - Logan) - 2:38

Okay, her voice may not have had the same gravitas as Aretha, but 'Reality' demonstrated Carolyn could belt one out of the park.    Nice, radio-friendly slice of up-tempo pop-soul.   RCA tapped it as a single:

- 1969's 'Reality' b/w 'It's True I'm Gonna Miss You' (RCA Victor catalog number 74-0188)    rating: *** stars

2.) Its True Im Gonna Miss You   (Williams - Simpkins) - 4:10

Pretty enough ballad, but the song's heavy orchestration served to distract from Carolyn's lovely voice.  She also didn't do herself any favors by stretching for those super high notes.  rating: *** stars

3,) What Cha Gonna Do   (Mosley - Armstead) - 2:35

I'm guessing the intent was to pull a page out of Aretha's catalog and inject a bit of Muscle Shoals-styled soul into the mix   Nice move.   rating: **** stars

4.) I Dont Want To Lose You   (Carolyn Franklin) - 2:20

Showcasing a deeper than usual vocal register, the slinky  'I Dont Want To Lose You' was one of the album's most outright commercial tunes and the track I would have tapped as a single.   rating: **** stars.  

5.) Boxer   (Carolyn Franklin - Hicks) - 2:35

Another nod to Memphis soul, the self-penned 'Boxer' was a wonderful tune.   Melodic, radio-friendly, and funny as all, Franklin seldom sounded as impressive as this one  The song was tapped as the leadoff single:

1969's ' Boxer ' b/w 'I Don't Want To Lose You' (RCA Victor catalog number 47-9734)


(side 2)
1.) I Cant Live Without You   (Van McCoy) - 2:27

Carolyn getting down and funky !    Another awesome performance that should have been tapped as a single.   rating: **** stars

2.) What Now My Love   (Gilbert Becaud - Pierre Delanoe - Carl Sigman) - 4:05

Chances are that if  you ever heard Gilbert Becaud's original French version of the tune (entitled 'Et Maintenant' (translated as 'now what')), you'd be dumbfounded by Franklin's gritty cover.  Becaud's martial paced version was almost funny.   Franklin's simply oozes soul.   rating: **** stars

3.) Alone   (Reeder) - 2:23

Again, her voice was quite different from Aretha and Erma, but the blues-ballad sounded like something her sisters might have recorded.   Nice and another personal favorite with some of the album's tasty lead guitar.  rating: **** stars

4.) There I Go (Se per te ce soltanta quell uomo)   (Stellman - Livaraghia - Specchia) - 2:31

Slinky supper club jazz-soul tune.  It sounded out of place on the album, though it wasn't nearly as bad as this kind of stuff tends to be.   rating: ** stars

5.) On A Back Street   (Singleton - Rogers) - 2:34

Sweet, soul-drenched ballad that would have sounded right at home on an Aretha album.  Another tune where you were left to wonder why RCA didn't tap it as a single.    rating: **** stars

6.) More Than Ever Before   (Scott - Jim Radcliffe) - 2:08

Frantic, fantastic soul dance tune.  Simply too good to adequately describe.   rating: **** stars



It's not particularly rare, but Franklin also released a non-LP 45 later in the year:

- 1969's 'All I Want Is To Be Your Woman' b/w 'Ain't That Groovy' RCA Victor catalog number 74-0289) 







Genre: soul

Rating: *** (3 stars)

Title:  Chain Reaction

Company: RCA Victor

Catalog: LSP-4317

Year: 1970

Country/State: Memphis, Tennessee

Grade (cover/record): VG+./VG+

Comments: minor ring wear; cut lower right corner

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 4548

Price: $25.00

Cost: $66.00


Co-produced by Buzz Willis and Jim Radcliffe, 1970's "Chain Reaction" has always struck me as kind of a musical oddity.  What makes the set curious to my ears is the fact that even though Carolyn Franklin was fairly well known as a writer (having placed several of her songs with sister Aretha Franklin), on this set she elected to return nothing but covers.  Her taste in material certainly wasn't bad, reflecting a mixture of classic if little known soul and more contemporary pop. numbers  As I said earlier, of the three Franklin sisters, Carolyn always struck me as having the most commercial voice and that was  quite apparent on material such as her cover of Nilsson's 'Everybody's Talkin'' and 'Put A Little Love In Your Heart.   On the other hand, she was at her best when tackling more soulful material, including her remakes of The Moments 'Not On the Outside' and The Masquerader's 'I Ain't Got To Love Nobody Else'.  Elsewhere RCA tapped the album for a pair of singles:











- 1970's 'Chain Reaction' b/w 'Everybody's Talkin'' (RCA Victor catalog number 74-0314

- 1970's 'You Really Didn't Mean It' b/w ' All I Want Is To Be Your Woman' (RCA Victor catalog number 74-0373)

"Chain Reaction" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Everybody's Talkin' - 4:03

2.) Goin' In Circles - 4:00

3.) Chain Reaction - 2:52

4.) You Really Didn't Mean It - 3:31

5.) Not On the Outside - 5:00


(side 2)
1.) Put A Little Love In Your Heart - 2:45

2.) Don't Wake Me Up In the Morning Michael - 4:26

3.) I Ain't Got To Love Nobody Else - 3:30

4.) Right On! - 1:45

5.) Shattered Pride - 4:50


Sadly, only 43, Carolyn died from cancer in April 1988.