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Etta James – Chess Box (2000)

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Etta James – Chess Box (2000)

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1. All I Could Do Is Cry
2. My Dearest Darling
3. If I Can't Have You
4. I Just Want To Make Love To You
5. Anything To Say You're Mine
6. In My Diary
7. Spoonful
8. A Sunday Kind Of Love
9. At Last
10. Stormy Weather
11. Trust In Me
12. Don't Cry Baby
13. Fool That I Am
14. One For My Baby (And One More For The Road)
15. Waiting For Charlie (To Come Home)
16. Don't Get Around Much Anymore
17. Next Door To The Blues
18. I Don't Want It
19. Something's Got A Hold On Me
20. Stop The Wedding
21. These Foolish Things (Remind Me Of You)
22. You Got Me Where You Want Me
23. I Want To Be Loved (But Only By You)
24. Prisoner Of Love
25. Pushover
26. Be Honest With Me

 

Etta James is one of the towering figures of the blues, the foremost female blues vocalist of the second half of the 20th century, and the foundation of her legacy is her recordings for Chess Records in the '60s. Despite her reputation and enduring popularity, Etta didn't receive a box set retrospective between 1988 and 1990, the time when Chess was honoring such heavyweights as Chuck Berry, Muddy Waters, Howlin Wolf, Bo Diddley, and Willie Dixon with multi-disc retrospectives. They eased away from box sets during the '90s, only issuing a comprehensive double-disc Little Walter set early in the decade, but they finally returned to the sets in 2000 with a long-overdue Chess Box for Etta James. Like before, when they assembled terrific sets on Berry and Waters, they got it right. Collectors may find a favorite side missing, but the great majority of her best work for Argo, Cadet, and Chess is here. Although there are a handful of unreleased tracks, the point behind this set is to provide a thorough overview of the most pivotal years in James' career, and on that level, it succeeds tremendously. Like many career-spanning sets, it does dip slightly in quality on the last disc, but not enough to make this anything less than an essential addition to a thorough blues library, since even on the lesser material, she sounds terrific. As a matter of fact, it's rather astonishing how strong all these recordings are, from her terrific vocals to the songs themselves. It's a shame it didn't come out with the first round of Chess Boxes, but it was worth the wait. --- Stephen Thomas Erlewine, Rovi

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Last Updated (Wednesday, 20 January 2021 15:20)

 

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