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Showing posts with label Etta James. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Etta James. Show all posts

Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Etta James - The Montreux Years - New release review

 I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, The Montreux Years, from Etta James and it's dynamite. Opening with Breakin' Up Somebody's Home, Etta James hits like a truck on lead vocal, supported by Herman Roscoe Ernest III on drums, Ronnie Buttacavoli on trumpet, Bobby Murray on guitar, Josh Sklair on guitar, Bobby Vega on bass, Kraig Kilby on trombone, Richard Howell on sax, David Matthew on keyboards, Donto James on percussion and Claude Nobs on harmonica. Great opener. Emotionally charged, A Lover Is Forever, is a quiet contrast to the opener with James wooing the mic over the electro acoustic guitar work of Murray and Sklair. Very nice. Rockin, Tell Mama, has great drive, with hot vocal by James, backed by Klaus Doldinger on sax, Lew Soloff on trumpet, Rick Wakeman on keys, David Fathead Newman on sax, Brian Ray on guitar, Richard Tee on keys, Steve Ferrone on drums and David Lowrey on bass. R&B track, Something's Got A Hold On Me gets an uptempo, gospel like feel with backing by Ernst III, Buttacavoli, Murray. Jim Pugh on keys, Sklair on guitar, Vega on bass, Kirby on trombone, Donoto foster on percussion, Howell and Sametto Dennis on vocal. Excellent! Slinky, high stepper, Come To Mama is really great with a strong under pinning by Vega and Ernest III, a scorching guitar solo by Murray and great horn work by Buttacavoli, Kilby and Howell. A string of ballads including At Last, Trust In Me and Sunday Kind of Love is really nice, with james showcasing the jazz styling that made her famous. Very nice. Rolling the blues out big and strong, I Sing The Blues For You is wide open with a full jam by Murray, Sklair, Matthews and Richard Cousins and solid horn backing by Buttacavoli and Kilby. Closing the forst cd is Baby What You Want Me to Do with Brian Ray with a solid guitar solo , Cash McCall on guitar, Tony Cook on drums, Gene Dinwitty with a potent sax solo, fred Beckmeier on bass, Bobby Martin on keys, Keith Johnson on trumpet and Claude Nobs on harmonica. 

Disc 2 is all recorded in July of '75. Opening with a funky, Respect Yourself, James' vocals are gritty and tight, backed by Brian Ray on guitar, Frank Able on keys, Poindexter on sax, Klaus Doldinger on tenor sax, Johnson on tuba and bass trombone and John Paul Jones on bass. Drown In My Own Tears is an excellent soul track in the lines of Aretha '69 or her work at Muscle Shoals. Excellent! An excellent remake of her original track, I'd Rather Go Blind, is included her and she really works hard on that 9+ minute presentation. Very nice. Slow blues, Baby What You Want Me To Do, gives james a great opportunity to stretch thsi famous blues track to new heights. With her powerful vocals and the guitar work of Ray shining, backed by Poindexter, Doldinger, and Johnson, this is really cool. Wrapping the set is TBone Walker's Stormy Mondy with excellent guitar work by Ray and Albe's delicate key strokes setting the pace. The warm sax work of Poindexter prepares the way and james holds nothing back with a stellar vocal performance that pushes the band even further. Excellent closer for an excellent pair of discs.


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Friday, January 25, 2013

I'd Rather Go Blind - Etta James

Etta James (born Jamesetta Hawkins; January 25, 1938 – January 20, 2012) was an American singer. Her style spanned a variety of music genres including blues, rhythm and blues, rock and roll, soul, gospel and jazz. Starting her career in 1954, she gained fame with hits such as "Roll With Me, Henry", "At Last", "Tell Mama", "Something's Got a Hold on Me", and "I'd Rather Go Blind" for which she wrote the lyrics. She faced a number of personal problems, including drug addiction, before making a musical resurgence in the late 1980s with the album The Seven Year Itch. James is regarded as having bridged the gap between rhythm and blues and rock and roll, and is the winner of six Grammys and 17 Blues Music Awards. She was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1993, the Blues Hall of Fame in 2001, and the Grammy Hall of Fame in both 1999 and 2008. Rolling Stone ranked James number 22 on their list of the 100 Greatest Singers of All Time and number 62 on the list of the 100 Greatest Artists Jamesetta Hawkins was born on January 25, 1938, in Los Angeles, California, to Dorothy Hawkins, who was only 14 at the time. Her father has never been identified. James speculated that her father was the pool player Rudolf "Minnesota Fats" Wanderone, and met him briefly in 1987. Due to her mother being often absent from their Watts apartment, conducting relationships with various men, James lived with a series of foster parents, most notably "Sarge" and "Mama" Lu. James referred to her mother as "the Mystery Lady". James received her first professional vocal training at the age of five from James Earle Hines, musical director of the Echoes of Eden choir, at the St. Paul Baptist Church in south central Los Angeles. She became a popular singing attraction at the church, and Sarge tried to pressure the church into paying him money for her singing, but they refused. During drunken poker games at home, he would often wake James up in the early hours of the morning and force her through beatings to sing for his friends. As she was a bed-wetter, and often soaked with her own urine on these occasions, the trauma of being forced to sing meant she had a lifelong reluctance to sing on demand. In 1950, Mama Lu died, and James' real mother took her to the Fillmore District, San Francisco. Within a couple of years, James began listening to doo-wop and was inspired to form a girl group, called the Creolettes (due to the members' light skinned complexions). The 14-year-old girl met musician Johnny Otis. Stories on how they met vary including Otis' version in which James had come to his hotel after one of his performances in the city and persuaded him to audition her. Another story came that Otis spotted the group performing at a Los Angeles nightclub and sought them to record his "answer song" to Hank Ballard's "Work With Me, Annie". Nonetheless, Otis took the group under his wing, helping them sign to Modern Records and changing their name from the Creolettes to the Peaches and gave the singer her stage name reversing Jamesetta into Etta James. James recorded the version, which she was allowed to co-author, in 1954, and the song was released in early 1955 as "Dance with Me, Henry". Originally the name of the song was "Roll With Me, Henry" but was changed to avoid censorship due to the subtle title. In February of that year, the song reached number one on the Hot Rhythm & Blues Tracks chart. Its success gave the group an opening spot on Little Richard's national tour. While on tour with Richard, pop singer Georgia Gibbs recorded her version of James' song, which was released under the title "The Wallflower", and became a crossover hit, reaching number one on the Billboard Hot 100, which angered James. After leaving the Peaches, James had another R&B hit with "Good Rockin' Daddy", but struggled with follow-ups. When her contract with Modern came up in 1960, she decided to sign with Leonard Chess' namesake label, Chess Records, and shortly afterwards got involved in a relationship with singer Harvey Fuqua, founder of the doo-wop group, The Moonglows. Bobby Murray, aka "Taters", toured with Etta James for 20 years. He wrote that James had her first hit single when she was 15 years of age and went steady with B.B. King when she was 16. Etta James believed the hit single "Sweet Sixteen" by King was about her. Dueting with Harvey Fuqua, James recorded for the Chess label Argo (later Cadet) and her first hit singles with Fuqua were "If I Can't Have You" and "Spoonful". Her first solo hit was the doo-wop styled rhythm and blues number, "All I Could Do Was Cry", becoming a number two R&B hit. Leonard Chess had envisioned James as a classic ballad stylist who had potential to cross over to the pop charts and soon surrounded the singer with violins and other string instruments. The first string-laden ballad James recorded was "My Dearest Darling", which peaked in the top five of the R&B chart. James sang background vocals on label mate Chuck Berry's "Back in the USA". Vinyl recording of "At Last"/"I Just Want to Make Love" Her debut album, At Last!, was released in late 1960 and was noted for its varied choice in music from jazz standards to blues numbers to doo-wop and rhythm and blues (R&B). The album also included James' future classic, "I Just Want to Make Love to You" and "A Sunday Kind of Love". In early 1961, James released what was to become her signature song, "At Last", which reached number two on the R&B chart and number 47 on the Billboard Hot 100. Though the song was not as successful as expected, it has become the most remembered version of the song. James followed that up with "Trust in Me", which also included string instruments. Later that same year, James released a second studio album, The Second Time Around. The album took the same direction as her previous album, covering many jazz and pop standards, and using strings on many of the songs spawning two hit singles, "The Fool That I Am" and "Don't Cry Baby". James started adding gospel elements in her music the following year releasing "Something's Got a Hold on Me", which peaked at number four on the R&B chart and was also a top 40 pop hit. That success was quickly followed by "Stop the Wedding", which reached number six on the R&B charts and also had gospel elements.[14] In 1963, she had another major hit with "Pushover" and released the live album Etta James Rocks the House, which was recorded at the New Era Club in Nashville, Tennessee. After a couple years scoring minor hits, James' career started to suffer after 1965. After a period of isolation, James returned to recording in 1967 and reemerged with more ballsy R&B numbers thanks to her recording at the legendary Fame Studios in Muscle Shoals, Alabama releasing her comeback hit "Tell Mama", which was co-written by Clarence Carter and Paul C Saenz, and reached number ten R&B and number twenty three pop. An album of the same name was also released that year and included her take of Otis Redding's "Security". The B-side of "Tell Mama" was "I'd Rather Go Blind", which became a blues classic in its own right and was recorded by many other artists. She wrote in her autobiography Rage To Survive that she heard the song outlined by her friend Ellington "Fugi" Jordan when she visited him in prison. According to her account, she wrote the rest of the song with Jordan, but for tax reasons gave her songwriting credit to her partner at the time, Billy Foster. Following this success, James became an in-demand concert performer though she never again reached the heyday of her early-to-mid 1960s success. She continued to chart in the R&B Top 40 in the early 1970s with singles such as "Losers Weepers" (1970) and "I Found a Love" (1972). Though James continued to record for Chess, she was devastated by the death of Chess founder Leonard Chess in 1969. James ventured into rock and funk with the release of her self-titled album in 1973 with production from famed rock producer Gabriel Mekler, who had worked with Steppenwolf and Janis Joplin, who had admired James and had covered "Tell Mama" in concert. The album, known for its mixtures of musical styles, was nominated for a Grammy Award. The album did not produce any major hits, neither did the follow-up, Out On the Street Again, in 1974, though like Etta James before it, the album was also critically acclaimed. James continued to record for Chess releasing two more albums in 1978, Etta Is Betta Than Evah and Deep in the Night, which saw the singer incorporating more rock-based music in her repertoire. That same year, James was the opening act for The Rolling Stones and also performed at the Montreal International Jazz Festival. Following this brief success, however, she left Chess Records and did not record for another ten years as she struggled with drug addiction and alcoholism. Though she continued to perform, little was heard of Etta James until 1987 when she was seen performing "Rock & Roll Music" with Chuck Berry on his "Hail! Hail! Rock 'n' Roll" documentary. In 1989, James signed with Island Records and released the album Seven Year Itch. The album was produced by Barry Beckett. She released a second album, also produced by Barry Beckett, in 1989 titled Stickin' to My Guns. Both albums were recorded at FAME Studios. Also in 1989 James filmed a live concert from the Wiltern Theater in Los Angeles with Joe Walsh and Albert Collins, "Jazzvisions: Jump The Blues Away". Backing musicians consisted of many top-flight players from LA: Rick Rosas (bass); Michael Huey (drums); Ed Sanford (B3); Kip Noble (piano); and Etta's longtime guitar player Josh Sklar (guitar). James participated in rap singer Def Jef for the song "Droppin' Rhymes on Drums", which mixed James' jazz vocals with hip-hop. In 1992, James released The Right Time produced by Jerry Wexler on Elektra Records and the following year, James was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. James signed with Private Music Records in 1993 and recorded the Billie Holiday tribute album Mystery Lady: Songs of Billie Holiday. The album later set a trend for James' music to incorporate more jazz elements. The album won James her first Grammy Award for best jazz vocal performance in 1994. In 1995, she released the David Ritz-co authored autobiography, A Rage to Survive, and recorded the album Time After Time. Three years later she issued the Christmas album Etta James Christmas in 1998. By the mid-1990s, James' earlier classic music was included in commercials including, most notably, "I Just Wanna Make Love to You". Due to exposure of the song in a UK commercial, the song reached the top ten of the UK charts in 1996. Continuing to record for Private Music, she released the blues album Matriarch of the Blues in 2000, which had James returning to her R&B roots with Rolling Stone hailing it as a "solid return to roots", further stating that the album found the singer "reclaiming her throne — and defying anyone to knock her off it." In 2001, she was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame and the Rockabilly Hall of Fame, the latter for her contributions to the developments of both rock and roll music and rockabilly. In 2003, she received a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. Her 2004 release, Blue Gardenia, returned James to a jazz music style. Her final album for Private Music, Let's Roll, was released in 2005 and won James a Grammy for best contemporary blues album. Etta James performing in San Jose, California, in 2000. In 2004, Rolling Stone magazine ranked her No. 62 on their list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time. James has performed at the top world jazz festivals in the world, such as the Montreux Jazz Festival in 1977, 1989, 1990 and 1993,performed nine times at the legendary Monterey Jazz Festival, and the San Francisco Jazz Festival five times. Additionally, James often performed at free summer arts festivals throughout the United States. In 2008, James was portrayed by Beyoncé Knowles in the film, Cadillac Records, loosely based on the rise and fall of James' label of 18 years, Chess Records, and how label founder and producer Leonard Chess helped the career of James and other label mates, though it was noted that James was successful prior to her signing with Chess Records.In the film, Etta James' character is in constant search to seek the recognition as well as love from a professional pool player named Minnesota Fats, whom she believed to be her white biological father. The film also portrayed "At Last" as a huge pop hit, but the single only charted briefly when it was initially released and James had bigger hits. It also inaccurately portrayed James and Chess [who were 21 years apart in age] as lovers. Though James and Knowles were later seen at a red carpet event following the film's release embracing each other, James expressed her displeasure with Knowles at a Seattle concert in January 2009, a few days after Knowles sang her song, "At Last", at the first inaugural ball for Barack Obama. James claimed she "can't stand Beyoncé" and that Knowles would "get her ass whipped". James later said that her remarks about Knowles were a joke but admitted she was hurt that she was not invited to sing her song and that she could have performed it better. In April 2009, the 71-year-old James made her final television appearance performing "At Last" during an appearance on Dancing with the Stars. In May 2009, James received the Soul/Blues Female Artist of the Year award from the Blues Foundation, the ninth time James had won the award. James carried on touring but by 2010 had to cancel concert dates due to her gradually failing health after it was revealed that she was suffering from dementia and leukemia. In November 2011, James released her final album, The Dreamer, which was critically acclaimed upon its release. James announced that this would be her final album. James's continuing relevance was affirmed in 2011 when the Swedish DJ Avicii achieved substantial chart success with the song "Levels", which samples her 1962 song, "Something's Got a Hold On Me". The same sample was also used by rapper Flo Rida in his hit 2011 single "Good Feeling." Both artists issued statements of condolence on James's death If you support live Blues acts, up and coming Blues talents and want to learn more about Blues news and Fathers of the Blues, ”LIKE” ---Bman’s Blues Report--- Facebook Page! I’m looking for great talent and trying to grow the audience for your favorite band!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Tribute to Etta James on her Birthday - Bob Corriitore correspondence


  • Etta James January 25, 1938 - January 20, 2012. How many people have fallen in love while listening to the song "At Last" or shed a tear when listening to "I'd Rather Go Blind" or danced with delight and empowerment when the song "Tell Mama" would come on? That was the power of the legendary Etta James who died today after a long struggle with numerous health issues. She was 73. Etta represented the human condition and all of its imperfections of which she could sing about with an experienced vulnerability that would seem to cut straight to your heart. Born Jamesetta Hawkins in Los Angeles, Etta began singing in church at age 5. She would launch a professional music career under the name "Peaches" while still in her early teens. In 1955 she teamed up with producer/musician/ bandleader/talent scout Johnny Otis to release "The Wallflower" which rose to #1 in the Rhythm & Blues charts. Throughout the 1950s she made many spectacular recordings for Modern Records and in 1960 she signed with the Chess label's subsidiary Argo Records. It was during her Chess period that some of her most beloved hits were released. Along the way she became addicted to heroin which led to some bumps in her career but she kicked the habit in 1974 and rebuilt her amazing career. She would open for the Rolling Stones, win Grammy and Handy Awards, sing the national anthem at the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles, be inducted in the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame in 1993, and unquestionably solidify her stature as a true music legend. In 2008 the movie Cadillac Records featured Beyoncé portraying the Etta James character during the Chess Records years. Beyoncé's version of Etta's "At Last' from that movie would win a Grammy. Sadly, Etta James publicly criticized Beyoncé for singing "At Last" at the inaugural ball for President Barack Obama. The last few years found Etta dealing with many heath issues including blood infection and leukemia. Through all of her trials and tribulations, Etta James will remembered for all time as a singer who, perhaps better than anyone else, could become the song. We thank Etta James for the gift of her music and her unstoppable spirit and grit which will live on forever through her many timeless recordings.

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Friday, January 20, 2012

Etta James Dies - Stephen M. Silverman

Etta James Dies | Etta James

Etta James, the powerful blues voice behind the chart-topping 1961 evergreen "At Last," has died after a lengthy struggle with leukemia. She was 73.

Her longtime friend and manager, Lupe De Leon, first confirmed the news to CNN. "This is a tremendous loss for the family, her friends and fans around the world," De Leon said. "She was a true original who could sing it all – her music defied category. I worked with Etta for over 30 years. She was my friend and I will miss her always."

Because of her health concerns, James had curtailed her concerts in January 2010 to enter the hospital with a blood infection, among other ailments, including Alzheimer's disease. In May 2011, James was again admitted to a hospital in Riverside, Calif., with a urinary tract infection and the blood infection sepsis, her son Sametto James told Reuters at the time.

The winner of four Grammys and a 1993 inductee to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, James was portrayed in the 2008 movie Cadillac Records by Beyoncé Knowles. Christina Aguilera also cited James as a major influence.

"There's a lot going on in Etta James's voice," Bonnie Raitt once told Rolling Stone, which ranked James 22nd on its list of the 100 Best Singers of All Time. "A lot of pain, a lot of life but, most of all, a lot of strength. She can be so raucous and down one song, and then break your heart with her subtlety and finesse the next. As raw as Etta is, there's a great intelligence and wisdom in her singing."

Born Jamesetta Hawkins

The Los Angeles-born James began singing in church and was discovered in 1954 by bluesman Johnny Otis, who amended her name from Jamesetta Hawkins.

Etta James Dies| Tributes, Etta James

Etta James (left) with Beyoncé Knowles, who portrayed the singer in the 2008 film Cadillac Records

Jeff Vespa / WireImage

Over the next decade she built up a catalog of hits – "Roll with Me Henry," "Call My Name" and "I'd Rather Go Blind" – along with an addiction to heroin. "It took over my life," the 5'3" singer told PEOPLE in 2006, shortly after she had successfully shed 235 of her 400 lbs. through gastric-bypass surgery. "You get up every day and look to score."

Her drug problems landed husband Artis Mills (whom she married in 1969) behind bars from 1972 to 1982, when he took the fall for the couple's arrest on heroin-possession charges. James made several trips to rehab, including a 17-month stint in the mid-'70s, without success. Finally, during a 1988 stay in the Betty Ford Clinic, just before her 50th birthday, this time for a codeine addiction, "I took back my life," says James, who remained clean after that.

Among the Greats

Mills, who has been putting up a legal fight to wrest control of James's reported $1 million estate from her sons Donto and Sametto James, survives the singing legend, as do her sons.

"Etta always comes through with feeling," music biographer Peter Guralnick told PEOPLE in 2006. "She coexists with Aretha Franklin and Billie Holiday."

Saturday, December 17, 2011

I'd Rather Go Blind - Beth Hart


Beth Hart (born January 24, 1972) is an American singer who became famous with the hit "LA Song (Out of This Town)", which aired during Episode 17 of the 10th and final season of Beverly Hills, 90210.
While playing the Los Angeles clubs, she enlisted bassist Tal Herzberg and guitarist Jimmy Khoury. In 1993, Hart appeared on Ed McMahon's Star Search several times.

"Beth Hart and the Ocean of Souls" was recorded in 1993. It includes "Am I the One" (re-worked on later albums[citation needed]) and a pop-rock cover of the Beatles' "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds."

Hart released her album Immortal with her band Beth Hart Band in 1996.

Her next album, Screamin' for My Supper (Atlantic, 1999), featured "LA Song (Out of This Town)," a top-5 Adult Contemporary Chart hit.

At the same time, Hart was singing the lead role in "Love, Janis," an Off-Broadway musical based on Joplin's letters home to her mother.

Hart's Leave the Light On was released in 2003. European releases of the album include extras such as the ballad "Learning to Live" and a duet with Barry Hay, "I Don't Want to Be."

Hart released "Live at Paradiso" in 2005. The DVD version includes a bonus documentary covering "a day in the life" of Hart.

She has also recorded with Born ("It Hurts"), Les Paul and Neal Schon ("I Wanna Know You"), and released a number of music video singles not available on CD, including "Shine," "Boogeyman," and "Setting Me Free."

Beth Hart's album 37 Days was released in Europe July 2007.

Hart did a song with Slash called "Mother Maria." That song is on the iTunes version of Slash's solo album, Slash.

Beth Hart is married and currently resides in Los Angeles. Her band includes lead guitarist Jon Nichols, bassist Tom Lilly, and drummer Todd Wolf. Her manager is David Wolff.

Beth's new single was released in May 2010, the track, "Learning to Live," is from an upcoming album of the same name and will be used as the theme song to "Losing It with Jillian" on NBC. this album marks Beth's first new American studio release since 2003.

In 2011 she worked with Joe Bonamassa, first providing vocals for the track "No Love On The Street" on his album Dust Bowl (March 2011). They also worked on an entire album of blues classics together, entitled Don't Explain (released on September 27, 2011).
Her musical influences include rock,blues,gospel,jazz,and classical.
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Friday, December 16, 2011

Icon Etta James is now terminally ill - asking for prayers.


Blues/soul icon Etta James, whose health has been fading in recent years, is now terminally ill, and her live-in doctor is asking for prayers.
Dr. Elaine James, who isn't related to the 73-year-old Grammy winner and Rock and Roll Hall of Famer, says medical experts informed the performer that her chronic leukemia, a cancer of the blood and bone marrow, was declared incurable two weeks ago. The doctor has cared for Etta James around-the-clock care at the singer's Riverside, CA, area home since March 2010. James is barely able to communicate at this point, she added.

Elaine James says she's spreading word of the singer's ailments so people will pray for her. She says fans know Etta James has been sick "but not how sick."
Court records in the singer's probate case show she also suffers from dementia and kidney failure.

Dr. James made her comments outside a Riverside conservatorship hearing over the singer's $1 million estate. The singer's son, Donto James, has expressed concerns over his mother's treatment and care and wants a conservator rather than the singer's husband, Artis Mills.
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