Carolyn Franklin
b. 13 May 1944, Memphis, Tennessee, USA, d. 25 April 1988, Bloomfield Hills, Detroit, Michigan, USA. The younger sister of Aretha and Erma Franklin, Carolyn was born while her pastor father Rev. C.L. Franklin was in charge of the New Salem Baptist Church in Memphis. Subsequently, the family moved to Buffalo in New York State, and then to Detroit, where she and her sisters and two brothers grew up. From an early age, Carolyn played the piano, sang, and wrote her own music and lyrics. She cut some demos in a ‘latenight supperclub’ style for Lloyd Price's Double L label around 1963/64, and these were released in 1970 on a UK Joy album, THE FIRST TIME I CRIED. It included Carolyn's early-60s version of Don't Catch The Dog's Bone, which her sister Erma later recorded for Shout. Backing Aretha on her early recordings, alongside Erma and cousin Brenda Bryant (later Corbett), introduced Carolyn to ‘big time’ secular-music, and her own solo recording career did not take off properly until after the early peak of Aretha's post- Columbia success with Atlantic between 1967 and 1969, and Erma's somewhat secondary success for Bert Berns's Shout label during the same period. Her first two albums, BABY DYNAMITE (1969), and CHAIN REACTION (1970), were both produced by Jimmy Radcliffe. Neither album had a hit single, although they contained two songs, All I Want To Be Is Your Woman and It's True I'm Gonna Miss You, which became small R&B hits. Franklin's I'D RATHER BE LONELY (1973), was named after a Radcliffe song, and he started out as the album's producer, but died later in the year. He was still credited as co-producer of Franklin's final solo album, IF YOU WANT ME (1976), due to its inclusion of some earlier material. As well as singing back-up, Carolyn wrote several songs for Aretha, including Baby Baby Baby, Without Love, Sing It Again—Say It Again, I Was Made For You, Ain't No Way, Save Me, As Long As You Are There, and the big hit, Angel. In 1980, along with Brenda Corbett and Margaret Branch, she was seen backing her sister during the Think sequence in the successful cult film, THE BLUES BROTHERS, and, in 1987, with Erma and Brenda, she supported Aretha's second ‘return to gospel’ album, ONE LORD, ONE FAITH, ONE BAPTISM, recorded at the Franklin family's New Bethel Baptist Church. The same year, in a very different venture, Carolyn sang backing vocals on British singer Paul King's album JOY, produced by her close friend Dan Hartman. By this time, Carolyn had cancer, but doggedly pursued her desire to obtain a college degree in entertainment law, which she received some 10 days before she died at Aretha's Bloomfield Hills home in April 1988.

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