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The Essential Etta James

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Album Review

The Essential Etta James comprises 44 tracks summarizing the long and brilliant Chess tenure of "Miss Peaches," Etta James, opening with her 1960 smash "All I Could Do Was Cry," and encompassing her torchy, fully orchestrated ballads "At Last," "My Dearest Darling," and "Trust in Me," and continuing on through her 1962 gospel-rocker "Something's Got a Hold on Me," the Chicago soul standouts "I Prefer You" and "842-3089," and her 1967 Muscle Shoals-cut smash "Tell Mama." A few of the '70s sides that conclude the two-disc set seem like filler when compared to what preceded them, but most of the essentials are aboard.

Customer Reviews


Usually you can count on Sony's "Essential" series to provide original hits by the original artists BUT NOT IN THIS CASE! Etta didn't start recording for Sony's Epic label until 1989, so this is only going to be Etta's newer, non-hit material [including a re-recording of "At Last"]. There is also an "Essential" CD on the Chess label and THAT'S the CD with Etta's 1960's hits. iTunes doesn't help by confusing the two CDs in their Album Review above. If you want to hear how Etta ended her career, this is the CD for you. If you want the hits, look elsewhere.

Man's World

As far as I'm concerned, Etta James' recording of "It's a Man's Man's Man's World" is the gold standard thereof.


Born: January 25, 1938 in Los Angeles, CA

Genre: R&B/Soul

Years Active: '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Few female R&B stars enjoyed the kind of consistent acclaim Etta James received throughout a career that spanned six decades; the celebrated producer Jerry Wexler once called her "the greatest of all modern blues singers," and she recorded a number of enduring hits, including "At Last," "Tell Mama," "I'd Rather Go Blind," and "All I Could Do Was Cry." At the same time, despite possessing one of the most powerful voices in music, James only belatedly gained the attention of the mainstream audience,...
Full Bio