When Etta James came to Chess Records in 1960, she’d already had a couple of hit singles, but the music she recorded over the next decade and a half makes up the core of her legacy: torchy, sexy rhythm and blues with elegant arrangements that counterpoint the grit and burn of her voice. James was a fixture on black radio for most of the ’60s, although her hits scarcely crossed over to a pop audience until decades later. The ’70s material surveyed on the third disc finds her reaching out to a rock and country repertoire — a trio of Randy Newman songs are exactly dark and bitter enough for her — and showing off a vocal mastery that had only deepened with time.
By Douglas Wolk on 05.21.13 in Lists
Sometimes a simple sampling won't do — you want to dive in deep and explore every last corner of an artist's discography, or every forgotten single in a major musical movement. That's what the box set is made for: It's a...
By Wondering Sound Staff on 05.07.12 in Lists
From doting to derelict, supportive to destructive, pop music contains mothers of every stripe. This year for Mother's Day, we decided to showcase 20 of pop music's more prominent moms. Any of them look familiar?
By John Morthland on 12.28.11 in Reviews
The collaborative album is another concept that seems to work best when tackled by a real veteran like King. How else to explain the devastating melancholy between B's guitar and Etta James's voice on "There Is Something...
By John Morthland on 12.12.11 in Lists
By now, nearly everyone knows the classic Christmas blues, starting with Charles Brown's "Merry Christmas Baby" and "Please Come Home for Christmas." Christmas songs, after all, are a perennial favorite throughout the re...