Legendary Etta James dishes out a great mix of classic and contemporary blues tunes on her latest album, "Matriarch of the Blues." From Bob Dylan's, "Gotta Serve Somebody" to the classic, "Try a Little Tenderness," James has the uncanny ability to make each song her own.
Her powerful vocals generate excitement on tunes such as Al Green and Mason Lewis Hodges' "Rhymes" as she belts out; "All is fair in love and war. What are you waiting for? " The musicians backing James compliment her forceful style, adding tonal color and a strong groove to the mix. Donto and Sametto James lead the percussion section. The horns are tight, and the guitars soften the edge, winding sweet, light notes around her words.
James slows down the pace with her emotional rendition of, "Try a Little Tenderness" (James Campbell, Reginald Connelly and Harry Woods.) Her pleading vocals are laced with a touch of heartache, love and desperation. James doesn't attempt to mimic Otis Redding's version, but rather creates her own moving message.
Etta James makes the Rolling Stone's, "Miss You" a sultry, slow-moving song, and her take on John Fogerty's, "Born on the Bayou" is great fun! The duet with Mike Finnigan, "You're Gonna Make Me Cry" by Deadric Malone is pure sweetness! Their voices blend and build upon each other, stirring up a turbulent whirl of emotion!
Etta James launched her career in 1955 and has received six Grammy nominations over the years. She has created a dozen Top Ten Rhythm and Blues smashes and more than twenty-five chart hits. In 1993, she was inducted into the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame. Her powerful, fun new album reminds us just why Etta James is indeed, the "Matriarch of the Blues!"
Management: De Leon Artists
This review is copyright © 2001 by Lisa Gault, and Blues On Stage, all rights reserved. Copy, duplication or download prohibited without written permission. For permission to use this review please send an E-mail to Ray Stiles.
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