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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Something's Got A Hold On Me ......, 26 Nov 2001
This review is from: Her Best (Audio CD)
... And, it's this CD!
Believe me when I say, that this is Etta James at her best.
She is raw. She is wild. And she shows us just what the blues are about.
Weighing in with a stonking 20 tracks ranging from 1960 to 1970 we are delighted with all offerings. There are no weak links on this disc.
A cacophony of different sounds all lend themselves to separate tracks, resulting in a mixture of string laden arrangements [At Last/A Sunday Kind Of Love/Fool That I Am] old gospel tunes with good strong vocals [Something's Got A Hold On Me], raw blues [Two Sides To Every Story] and a blend of the three that all go to make the unmistakable sound of Etta [I'd Rather Go Blind]
Apart from the one live recording [Baby, What You Want Me To Do ~ The New Era Club, Nashville, 1963] the majority were recorded in Chicago, and with tracks 1 to 10 with the same Orchestra, and the same conductor [Riley Hampton].
There are two duets on the album. The first 'If I Can't Have You' with Harvey Fuqua. A pop song sung with a 'bluesy churchy' feeling. It works well, with both giving the song just what it needs. This song was written by Fugua and James.
The second 'In The Basement' with Sugar Pie Desanto, a delightful little number one that helped Etta peek into both the R & B and pop charts. This is a lively and upbeat little tune
'Pushover' [her biggest hit of the early 60's] and 'Two Sides To Every Story' both go to introduce a soul feel to the album. They are full of brass and beats.
A happy arrangement in the Studio meant that Etta's work hit the high spots and 'Tell Mama' was among the best selling R & B records for 16 weeks. Etta actually co-wrote 'I'd Rather Go Blind' [one of my all time favourite tracks, although I prefer 'Chicken Shacks' version] with an inmate at Chino prison, while her version of 'Security', both written and sung by Otis Redding outsold the original.
The one song that would really make this album the ultimate in Etta James offerings is unfortunately missing.
Made famous by those famous jeans 'I Just Wanna Make Love To You' will probably be Etta's signature tune.
However, the lack of this great song really doesn't detract from this album at all.
If you are an Etta fan and you haven't got 'Her Best' in your collection, I suggest you click 'add to Shopping Basket' now.
You won't regret it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Distinctive sixties R+B music, 9 Jun 2009
By 
Peter Durward Harris "Pete the music fan" (Leicester England) - See all my reviews
(TOP 10 REVIEWER)    (No. 1 Hall OF FAME REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Her Best (Audio CD)
Born Jamesetta Hawkins of mixed parentage, Etta James began her career at the dawn of rock'n'roll but her career only really took off when she joined the Chess label in 1960 and it is from her period with Chess that this collection was compiled. Etta could rock and she could sing the blues, but her biggest successes came with her re-interpretations of old classics from the swing era, most particularly her cover of At lat, although she also had hits with other types of song.

Etta's peak years, at least as far as the singles charts were concerned, were the early sixties, when she was a regular in the American charts with All I could do was cry, At last, Trust in me, Don't cry baby, Something's got a hold on me, Stop the wedding and Pushover. Personal problems took their toll for a while, but Etta returned to top form in 1967 with Tell Mama, Security and I'd rather go blind. A cover of the last-named song, which Etta wrote, became a British top twenty hit for Chicken Shack, a group that featured Christine Perfect (who later became Christine McVie of Fleetwood Mac) as lead singer.

All those hits, together with many other great songs, can be found on this excellent collection of music by one of the most distinctive R+B singers you're ever likely to hear.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bringing it all back, 7 May 2003
This review is from: Her Best (Audio CD)
My mother has been a fan of Etta James for many years and has most of the songs featured on this album, on different LPs lying about the house. It's so brilliant to have them all on the one disc - it's handy. I am getting married at the end of june and we have decided to use "At Last" as our first song. Perfect start to a perfect day by a perfect singer.
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5.0 out of 5 stars THEY ONLY ALLOW 5 STARS so I give it 5+, 5 Jan 2011
This review is from: Her Best (Audio CD)
This is powerful,powerful stuff..Etta James is a force of nature...and if you buy this album, there will be no turning back...and you,ll be hooked for life...Not only a sublime singer ,she has this ability to reach deep down into your very heart and soul ....like no other singer on earth....this album is a superb mix of styles and lets you experience what Etta is all about..Etta sings like an angel with attitude.....If you buy only one more record in your life....make sure its this one...and the price...its so cheap its almost free.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bringing it all back, 7 May 2003
This review is from: Her Best (Audio CD)
My mother has been a fan of Etta James for many years and has most of the songs featured on this album, on different LPs lying about the house. It's so brilliant to have them all on the one disc - it's handy. I am getting married at the end of june and we have decided to use "At Last" as our first song. Perfect start to a perfect day by a perfect singer.
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Her Best by Etta James (Audio CD - 1999)
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