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Etta James: Her Best (The Chess 50th Anniversary Collection)
Genres: Blues, Pop, R&B
Whether she sings string-laden pop ballads, lively soul, or gritty electric blues, James's high-powered, enormously expressive voice displays a knack for passionate blues inflections. Emotionally charged ballads including ... more »
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Whether she sings string-laden pop ballads, lively soul, or gritty electric blues, James's high-powered, enormously expressive voice displays a knack for passionate blues inflections. Emotionally charged ballads including "At Last" and "All I Could Do is Cry" find James blasting through the orchestra with unearthly wails and moans. "If I Can't Have You," a duet with Harvey Fuqua, drops the orchestra in favor of horn-driven R&B and "Something's Got a Hold On Me" is a gospel-flavored romp reminiscent of Ray Charles. A live version of Jimmy Reed's "Baby, What You Want Me to Do" shows her raunchiest Chicago-blues style, and "In the Basement," with Sugar Pie DeSanto, is a funky workout. Also here are three classics from her soul-drenched 1967 Muscle Shoals sessions. --Marc Greilsamer
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Member CD Reviews
Teresa S. from WINDHAM, ME
Reviewed on 12/19/2009...
Awesome condition, awesome CD
0 of 1 member(s) found this review helpful.
Etta has pathos and technique:Telling A Black Woman's Story
jazzy271 | Washington, D.C., District of Columbia USA | 10/16/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I discovered Etta James when I was a teenaged black girl growing up in Berkeley, California. I was too young for Muddy Waters, and Billie Holiday. Before I was born,my parents fled segregated New Orleans for the wartime jobs of Oakland and San Francisco naval bases. I heard blues in the background of my life. From my aunt's honky-tonk piano playing to the sexual innuendo of Big Mama Thorton. I took it all in. This album captures every single bit of the innuendo of my life, either real or imagined. I love the songs everyone loves, At Last, A Sunday Kind of Love, Fool That am I, Trust in Me, All I Could Do is Cry. These songs speak truth to a woman's powerlessness. What I noticed after playing this album over, and over, and over is that she sounds like a horn, a sassy, jazzy blues horn. When she goes wanh, wanh, wanh, in Jimmy Reed's, Baby, What you Want Me to Do, she is the perfect vocal instrument. Anyone who wants to meet Etta, must have this cd. I have the two cd box set and other "essential" cds, but this is simply THE BEST!"
Etta James Singin' Away
Matthew Calcara | Los Angeles, CA United States | 06/10/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Though I'm an admitted jazz-and-blues fan, it doesn't take a hard-core fan to appreciate the beauty and richnesss of Etta James. "At Last" remains her most well-known song for good reason: it's an eloquent, evocative, soulful masterpiece. Her voice is absolutely entrancing here and on the admittedly saccharine "A Sunday Kind of Love". Etta's voice ranges from bluesy sass in "Next Door to the Blues" to gospel power in "Something's Got a Hold on Me" to the smooth and smoldering notes of "Don't Cry Baby".But while her voice is easy to like, this is a blues album. It's great for those who like the blues but aren't hard-core fans of the genre. The album is easy to listen to and has several recognizable songs. But fans of James won't be disappointed either. With 20 songs of pure Etta, even they should get their fill. For those who aren't well-acquainted with her, Etta's voice is a rough mixture of Aretha Franklin and Janis Joplin. And when she's wailing the blues, you can feel her raw strength and conviction. This album really is Etta at her best."