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Aretha Franklin announces May 3 album release

of the Oakland Press

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Aretha Franklin will release her long-awaited new album, "Aretha: A Woman Falling Out of Love," on May 3, exclusively through Wal-Mart.

The 12-track album is the Bloomfield Hills-based Queen of Soul's first of all-new material since 2003's "So Damn Happy," and her first studio release since "This Christmas, Aretha, in 2008. Franklin served as executive producer on the album, which is being released by Franklin's own Aretha's Record label.

Franklin wrote two songs on "Aretha: A Woman Falling Out of Love," including the lead-off track and first single "How Long I've Waited," and produced four of the songs herself. The album also includes a duet with Detroit gospel singer Karen Clark-Sheard on "Faithful," as well as Franklin's renditions of "My Country 'Tis of Thee" from the 2009 presidential inauguration ceremony, B.B. King's "Sweet Sixteen" and the theme from the film "The Way We Were."

In announcing the album, Franklin issued a statement saying, "OK ladies, take a good look at the photo of me on this album; this is how you're supposed to look when you're a woman falling out of love. Don't sit by the phone waiting for him to call you, girlfriend; I want you to listen very closely to the lyrics of the songs on this album and you'll hear a few good tips. Go out and have a ball! -- Love always, Ree Ree."

Franklin, who underwent surgery for undisclosed health concerns in 2010, returns to the stage next month for concerts to support the new album. She'll play May 19 at the Chicago Theatre, May 28 in Niagra Falls, N.Y., and June 21 in Vienna, Va. She's said that she plans to play three shows at Detroit's Fox Theatre in early June, which will be taped for a TV special, but details of those concerts have not yet been announced.

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