2011 has turned out to be a bumper year for fans of the American Soul legend Etta James. February saw the "Who's Blue" Kent compilation give us 24 elusive tracks on Chess and Cadet Records spanning 1961 to 1976 - whilst 31 October will see her even rarer 1970 album "Losers Weepers" get a long overdue sonic update (with bonus tracks). And sandwiched between those is this little peach - the first official release on CD of "Call My Name" - a criminally forgotten Cadet Records LP from 1967. Yum yum. But here are the finite details first...
UK released Monday 3 Oct 2011 - Ace Records/Kent CDKEND 360 breaks down as follows (67:59 minutes):
Tracks 1 to 12 are the US album "Call Your Name" - released 27 January 1967 on Cadet Records LP-4055 [Mono] and LPS-4055 [Stereo] - the STEREO Mix Is Used
Track 13 is a cover of the Aretha Franklin hit "Do Right Man, Do Right Woman" (written by Dan Penn and Spooner Oldham) - unreleased until "The Essential Etta James" 2CD set on Chess CHD2-9341 in 1993
Tracks 14 and 16 are "I Got You Babe" (a cover of the Sonny & Cher hit) and "I Worship The Ground You Walk On" (written by Dan Penn and Spooner Oldham) - released as the A&B-side of a 7" single on Cadet 5606 in May 1968 (CD as per 17)
Tracks 17 and 19 are "I've Gone Too Far" and "Misty" - unreleased until "Tell Mama - The Complete Muscle Shoals Sessions" CD on Chess 088 112 518-2 in 2001
Track 18 is "You Got It" - issued as the A-side of a 7" single on Cadet 5620 in September 1968 (CD as per 17)
Track 20 is a cover of the David Houston Number 1 Country hit "Almost Persuaded" - the A-side of a 7" single issued on Cadet 5630 in December 1968 (CD as per 17)
Tracks 15, 21, 22, 23 are "You Took It" [Disc 2], "Slow And Easy" [Disc 3], "The Soul Of A Man" [Disc 3] and "Light My Fire" [Disc 2] - all previously unreleased until the 3CD set "The Chess Box" on Chess 088 112 288-2 in 2000
Track 24 is a cover of the Otis Redding/Steve Cropper song "Mr. Pitiful" reworked as "Miss Pitiful" - released as the A-side of a 7" single on Cadet 5655 in 1970 (CD as per 15)
[Note: tracks 13 to 20 are MONO, 21 to 24 are STEREO]
Apart from the brassy Northern Soul feel to almost all of the tracks, the first thing that hits you full-in-the-face is the truly GORGEOUS SOUND QUALITY. Remastered by DUNCAN COWELL at Sound Mastering in London - I've sung this engineer's praises before - but he's outdone himself here. There's amazing clarity on every song - clean Stereo separation too and a huge presence on instruments - especially the brass and percussion. It's a blast from start to finish. The 12-page colour booklet is crammed with photos of 7" singles, Cash Box magazine adverts and reviews as well as superbly detailed and affectionate liner notes by noted writers and Soul lovers MALCOLM BAUMGART and MICK PATRICK. A typically classy effort...
CONTENT - die-hard Etta James fans may be slightly disappointed to see that 'all' the bonus tracks (though many are rare) have turned up on previous CD compilations as noted above. However - this is the first commercial CD release for the entire "Call My Name" album - and it's a worthwhile investment for just that alone.
Produced by legendary writers and musicians MONK HIGGINS and RALPH PARIS at the Chess Tel-Mar studios in late 1966 - highlights include "I Prefer You" and "I'm So Glad (I Found Love In You)" which were paired as a 45 in December 1967 (Chess 5552). Along with the other great writers like MAURICE DOLLISON (aka Cash McCall) and JOYCE WRENCHER, Higgins provided the lion's share of the songs - and tunes like the torch ballad "Have Faith In Me" and the mid-tempo album finisher "Nobody Loves Me" are so much better for it (lyrics above). Another player in the sessions was BILLY FOSTER whom Etta married and had a son with - he gets a co-write on the jaunty "It Must Be Your Love" and "842-3089 (Call My Name)". Cult hero and song arranger CHARLES STEPNEY is in the band too on Vibes. The cover of Curtis Mayfield's Impressions' classic "It's All Right" is perhaps too fast and a bit heavy-handed, but that's countered by the warm church Soul feel of "Do Right Woman, Do Right Man" - a highlight among the bonus tracks.
To sum up - once again Ace Records have delivered on all fronts - keeping the great lady's recorded legacy alive for future generations to savour and enjoy. A job well done.
Jamesetta Hawkins folks - accept no less.
“Call My Name” by Etta James, released by Universal Japan in 1966, contains 12 songs. I have compiled a detailed song listing (including album and singles label & number, chart position, debut date, plus personal comments)(BB R&B=Billboard Rhythm & Blues Chart):
LP “CALL MY NAME” (Etta James)(Cadet LP 4055)(1966):
01 HAPPINESS (Cadet 5568)(b-side, July 1967)*rare gem; CD debut.
02 THAT’S ALL I WANT FROM YOU
03 HAVE FAITH IN ME
04 I’M SO GLAD (I FOUND LOVE IN YOU)(Cadet 5552)(b-side, December 1966)
05 YOU ARE MY SUNSHINE
06 IT MUST BE YOUR LOVE (Cadet 5564)(uncharted a-side, May 1967)
07 842-3089 (CALL MY NAME)(Cadet 5568)(uncharted a-side, July 1967)
08 DON’T PICK ME FOR YOUR FOOL (Cadet 5564)(b-side, May 1967)
09 I PREFER YOU (Cadet 5552)(a-side)(BB R&B 42/1967)(December 1966)
10 NOBODY LOVES ME
11 IT’S ALL RIGHT
12 NOBODY LIKE YOU
1 This is a wonderful “soul” album by Etta James, now making its CD debut. This album was produced by Leonard Chess.
2 My CD turns out to be a Japanese import, and the sound is wonderfully remastered.
3 There is a 16-page booklet, with the front and back album covers on the front and back page of the booklet, each occupying the entire page. Good job. The lyrics are included.
1 I could not read the Japanese essay in booklet. No English translation.
Etta James was born Jamesetta Hawkins on January 25, 1938 in Los Angeles, California. She was nicknamed “Miss Peaches.” She has a long illustrious career. Her singing style spanned a variety of music genres including blues, R&B, soul, rock and roll, jazz and gospel. She has frequent bouts of heroin addiction, but finally cured in the late 1970s. In 1996, her album “Mystery Lady: Songs of Billie Holiday” won Best Jazz Vocal Performance Grammy. She was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease in 2008. She died of leukemia on January 20, 2012 (age 74). Her mighty, moving voice is sorely missed.
After collecting all her 123 songs (as singles, except one song “Bring It on Home to Me” her duet with Tony Orlando), I am in the process of collecting all her domestic albums. “Call My Name” is her 10th album release, following “Queen of Soul.” The entire album, with great sound and many hit singles and rare gems, is totally enjoyable, and will be treasured. Naturally this set is highly recommended.