Etta James was one of the original soul sisters who defined the sound of the music in the 1960s, along with Aretha Franklin and Tina Turner. Her career spanned six decades and her style spanned a variety of music genres including blues, rhythm and blues, rock and roll, soul, gospel and jazz. The legendary singer influenced a wide variety of musicians including Diana Ross, Amy Winehouse, The Rolling Stones, Janis Joplin and Adele.
She was a musical force and a major hit-maker from the 1950s onwards and earned numerous accolades including six Grammy Awards, among them the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award, a Best Jazz Vocal Performance and two Hall of Fame Awards. In 1993, Etta James was inducted in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and in 2001 she was inducted by both the Rhythm and Blues Hall of Fame and the Rockabilly Hall Of Fame. Many have tried to follow her style, but there was only one Etta James. At Last The Best of Etta James is the definitive Etta James compilation featuring 25 soul classics including “At Last”, “I Just Want To Make Love To You”, “I Would Rather Go Blind” and many more...
- In many ways Etta James resembled a female Ray Charles in her unerring ability to tackle (and sometimes combine) all of the strands of American popular music, from rock & roll to R&B, blues, country, gospel, jazz, and pure pop and soul, while still maintaining a distinct feel and sound that was all her own, and she did this throughout a five-decade career that is impressive for its consistency. This 25-track set (mostly drawn from her time with Chess Records) is hardly definitive (it doesn't have classic James' tracks like "Anything to Say You're Mine," "Don't Cry Baby," "Something's Got a Hold on Me," or the girl group pop of "Two Sides (To Every Story)," for instance, or any of her late-career blues tracks), but it does do a good job of spotlighting James' range and versatility by collecting sides like her signature "At Last," the soul-pop masterpieces "Tell Mama" and "I'd Rather Go Blind," and saucy versions of Willie Dixon's "Spoonful" and Randy Newman's "You Can Leave Your Hat On," all of which offer ample proof that James was one of the best singers of her generation -- in any style. ~ Steve Leggett
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