"Etta James Rocks The House"
August 26, 2012 4:09 PM Subscribe
posted by Egg Shen (7 comments total)
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On September 27, 1963, at the New Era Club in Nashville, Tennessee, Etta James rocked the house
. The result was "simply one of the greatest live blues albums ever captured on tape"
.Great voices are also difficult to describe, so much so that obituaries seldom try, although Peter Keepnews recalled a few useful words from Jon Pareles in The New York Times: "a huge range, a multiplicity of tones and vast reserves of volume." All true, and relevant, but if range and volume did the trick there'd be great voices by the thousand--it's in those unspecified tones that the vocal "grain" resides. Preliminarily, say that James, who began recording at 15, was often girlish and always not, and that her jailbait clarity coexisted readily with her big-mama grit. Combined with her range, volume, and knack for drama, those contradictions rendered her a sing-the-phone-book original...
- Robert Christgau