Etta James sings with controlled passion and conviction. She makes ordinary songs special; her full-throated deliveries and no-nonsense vocals create magic on stages and in recording studios. She could sing softly before rising to full rage, as she does on "All I Could Do Was Cry" (written by Billy Davis and Barry & Gwen Gordy). James' beau, Harvey Fuqua, left her and Chicago for Barry's sister Gwen, who left Billy Davis and then moved to Chicago to produce records. A dramatic "Stop the Wedding" completes the saga. The scenario had all the intrigue of a mid-afternoon soap. She duets with Fuqua on "Spoonful," a cute love song. The Motown-ish "Push Over" proves James could have flourished at Hitsville U.S.A., but blues and standards were her calling. She shines on the Harptones' "A Sunday Kind of Love" and the heartfelt "At Last." James' "I'd Rather Go Blind" pioneered the amalgamation of R&B and Southern soul; the horns cry like funeral mourners. The pulsating "Tell Mama" was possibly the precursor to the tracks that Isaac Hayes and David Porter crafted for Sam & Dave and Otis Redding. James' first recording, the risqu‚ "Roll with Me Henry" (featuring Richard Berry), caused quite a stir. ~ Andrew Hamilton
10154OThe Best of Etta James [Spectrum] (CD)http://oldies.scdn5.secure.raxcdn.com/i/boxart/large/43/731454436724.jpg?v=310.999.89USDInStock/Genre/Blues/Music Categories/Blues-CategorySpectrum Audio UKCDBluesEtta-James2010-03-23
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