miércoles, 29 de julio de 2009

Etta James: Tell Mama - The Complete Muscle Shoals Sessions (2001)

Born Jamesetta Hawkins in L.A. in 1938, Etta James had made an early start on the local gospel scene before graduating to clubs and being spotted by the ever watchful Johnny Otis in the early 50s. He organised the name change and with ‘Dance with Me Henry’ Etta made her mark on rock & roll history. An answer to Hank Ballard’s ‘Work with Me Annie’, it too was famously banned for being overly suggestive (the real title was, of course, ‘Roll with Me Henry’), then suffered the iniquity of being covered by Georgia Gibbs—a white artist who specialised in anodyne and cynical re-makes of black hits. Gibbs’ bowdlerised version was the bigger seller but James had made her mark as singer of explosive power with a genuine, grown-up sexuality. After a number of further releases, she signed to Chess Records, where she scored with a series of lushly arranged R&B tunes such as ‘At Last’ and ‘Sunday kind of Love’. On these dates she began to show a penchant for mixing in jazz, country and pop with her driving blues-based style—something that has remained a feature of her work. In 1967 Etta went to record in Alabama at the legendary Muscle Shoals studio. The result was her most accomplished album, on which her voice had been mixed to perfection, allowing her to sound strong on the previously distorted high notes. James was rightly seen in a different light as one of the great soul voices of all time as she belted out powerful tracks such as ‘The Love Of My Man’ and ‘Watch Dog.’ Her slower numbers were equally arresting, including the wonderful ‘I'd Rather Go Blind’.~ http://www.cduniverse.com/, ~ http://www.popmatters.com/

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