Who's Blue?: Rare Chess Recordings From the 60s And 70s CD
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* "There's a lot going on in Etta James' voice - a lot of pain, a lot of life but, most of all, a lot of strength. Etta has struggled through a few lifetimes of personal heartache and somehow came out the other side. Her story is a testament to survival and the difficulties that seem to come with the territory for female singers - drugs and alcohol, money and weight - and, of course, trouble with men. Maybe that's why she could slay you with that phrasing from such a young age: she had the heartbreak to back it up." Bonnie Raitt
* This collection comprises over 70 minutes of soul, R&B, funk and jazz gems recorded by Etta for Chess Records in Chicago, Nashville, Muscle Shoals, Hollywood and New Jersey between 1960 and 1976.
* With an artist of her stature one might expect all of her Chess material to be available on compact disc by now, but that's not the case. For each of her LPs for the company that exists on CD, there is an equally good one not available in its entirety. The same applies to her B-sides, many of which have never been released on album, let alone CD. There are other compilations of Etta's Chess recordings to be had, but most contain the same familiar titles.
* "Who's Blue" offers something different, with 19 out of 24 tracks making their CD debut.
* Compilation and notes by Mick Patrick.
In recent years, Etta James has finally gained the respect she has so richly deserved. Previously in the shadow of other performers, James, through a variety of compilations and use of her music in adverts, has been appropriately reassessed and placed among the very greatest R&B singers.
Who’s Blue? is a look into the Los Angeles-born vocalist’s deeper catalogue, and provides a scintillating dip into the funk, blues, soul and doo-wop from her high-period Chess era. And these really are the rarities. Lesser artists would have donated their eye teeth for songs as powerful as this. James’ mastery of her material, whether on earlier R&B shuffles or later, funkier workouts, is never less than sublime.
Her strident and full-on take of Willie Dixon's Fire is one of the best here: it is a self-assured, monstrous groove. Cut with producer Rick Hall at FAME Studios in Muscle Shoals, it somehow failed to ignite when released in 1968. You're the Fool, from 1971's Losers Weepers album, is a big production and demonstrates her sensual vocal prowess. If there were a blind Pepsi Challenge between Aretha and Etta, James would here give The Queen of Soul a clear run for her money.
The most recent track on the collection, I've Been a Fool, dates from 1976. It owes something to Ike and Tina Turner's lurching, dirty, rock-infused later work. Working with Mike Terry, James was not going to sell her soul to the devil disco; here was a straight-ahead blues wail. However, the collection’s real diamond is Can't Shake It from 1964. This northern soul strut is bright, breezy and relentlessly upbeat. Why this was never even released at all is an absolute puzzle.
Listen to the 24 tracks of Who’s Blue? alongside James’ many volumes of hits and enjoy a deeper voyage into her splendid oeuvre. It is the sort of release that Ace do so well – finely annotated and also offering an alternative running order in the booklet should a listener wish to listen to the tracks chronologically. It’s exemplary, a gift that yields its joys readily and abundantly, and should be put in any aspiring soul singer's kit bag. And singer or not, it'll certainly brighten up your life.
Top Customer Reviews
There's a lot on here, so let's get to the details...
Released in the UK on 28 February 2011, Ace/Kent Soul CDKEND 345 breaks down as follows (67:49 minutes):
1. Only A Fool
(From "Etta James", 1973 USA LP on Chess 50042
Also 1974 USA 7" on Chess CH 2148, B-side of "Leave Your Hat On")
2. Take Out Some Insurance
(From "Losers Weepers", December 1970 USA LP on Cadet 847
Also 1971 USA 7" single on Chess CH 2112, A-side
Also 1975 USA 7" single on Chess CH 2171, B-side of "Lovin' Arms")
3. I'm So Glad (I Found A Love In You)
(From "Call My Name", January 1967 USA LP on Cadet 4055
Also 1967 USA 7" single on Cadet 5552, B-side of "I Prefer You")
4. (I Don't Need Nobody To Tell Me) How To Treat My Man
(A Previously Unreleased Track That First Appeared On The 2000 Universal 3CD set "Etta James - The Chess Box")
(1968 USA 7" single on Cadet 5620, A-side)
6. I've Been A Fool
(From "Etta Is Betta Than Evvah!", 1976 USA LP on Chess 19003
Also USA 1976 7" single on Chess ACH-30001, B-side of "Jump Into Love")
7. You're The Fool
(From "Losers Weepers", December 1970 USA LP on Cadet 847)
8. Can't Shake It
(Previously Unreleased 1964 Argo/Chess Recording, Released Here For 1st Time)
9. Do Right
(From "Queen Of Soul", 1964 USA LP on Argo 4040)
10. Nobody But You
(From "Etta James". 1962 USA LP on Argo 4013)
11.Read more ›
“Who’s Blue? Rare Chess Recordings from 60s and 70s”, released by reputable reissue label Ace Records from UK in 2011, contains 24 songs. I have compiled a detailed song listing (including names of album, album & singles label & number, chart position, debut date, plus personal comments)
01 ONLY A FOOL (Chess CH-2148)(b-side, February 1974)*rare gem; CD debut; from album “Etta James” (Chess CH-50042)(1973); stereo.
02 TAKE OUT SOME INSURANCE (Chess CH-2112)(uncharted a-side, June 1971)*from album “Losers Weepers” (Cadet LPS-847)(1971); stereo.
03 I'M SO GLAD (I FOUND LOVE IN YOU)(Cadet 5552)(b-side, December 1966)*rare gem; CD debut; from album “Call My Name” (Cadet LPS-4055)(1967); stereo
04 (I DON’T NEED NOBODY TO TELL ME) HOW TO TREAT MY MAN*previously unreleased; recorded in 1965; stereo.
05 FIRE (Cadet 5620)(b-side, September 1968)*rare gem; CD debut.
06 I’VE BEEN A FOOL (Chess ACH-31001)(b-side, July 1976)*rare gem; CD debut; from album “Etta Is Betta Than Evvah!” (Chess ACH-19003)(1976); stereo.
07 YOU’RE THE FOOL*from album “Losers Weepers” (Cadet LPS-847)(1971); stereo.
08 CAN’T SHAKE IT*previously unreleased; recorded in 1964.
09 DO RIGHT*from album “Queen of Soul” (Argo LP-4040)(1964)*stereo.
10 NOBODY BUT YOU*from album “Etta James” (Argo LP-4013)(1962)*stereo.
11 SEVEN DAY FOOL (Argo 5402)(b-side, October 1961)(BB Pop 95/1961; CB Pop 75/1961; RW Pop 61/1961)*double sided hit; from album “The Second Time Around” (Argo 4011)(1961)
12 THAT MAN BELONGS BACK HERE WITH ME*from album “Queen of Soul” (Argo LP-4040)(1964)*stereo.
13 LOOK WHO’S BLUE (Argo 5465)(b-side, March 1964)(CB Pop 140/1964)*double sided hit; real gem; CD debut.Read more ›
WHAT A WONDERFUL COLLECTION OF SONGS THIS COMPILATION OF ( MOSTLY UNRELEASED )IS ,TRACKS LEAVES ME ASTOUNDED.
IT SEEMS THAT THERE ARE MANY MORE RECORDINGS THAT HAVE NOT BEEN MADE AVAILABLE, THERE ARE CRUCIAL ALBUMS OF ETTAS' THAT DO NOT APPEAR ON DISK, THIS ALBUM JUST MAKES ME THIRST FOR MORE.
SOME OF THE LATTER 60s TRACKS ARE SO ' LAID DOWN DEEP IN THE GROOVE ' THAT MAKES IT TRULY IS 'A SIN' NOT TO HAVE ALL OF ETTAS' FULL CATALOGUE AVAILABLE.
THERE IS NOT ONE DUD TRACK ON THIS ALBUM..... THIS REALLY IS GREAT WORK FROM ETTA, BUT ALSO FROM THE MUSICIANS, AND THE PRODUCERS THAT SET HER UP TO RELAY 'GREAT SOUL' TO ALL WHO FEEL THE NEED TO LISTEN AND TO CONNECT WITH HER.
WHO'S BLUE ? IS A COLLECTION OF SONGS THAT TRULY PLACES ETTA JAMES FIRMLY AT THE TOP OF HER PROFESSION.
THIS WHOLE PACKAGE IS REALLY WELL PRESENTED, AND IS A REAL PLEASURE TO ADD TO ANY ETTA JAMES COLLECTION.
I BELIEVE THAT " WHO'S BLUE "WILL BECOME ONE OF ETTAS' BEST LOVED AND POPULAR ALBUMS THAT HAS EVER BEEN RELEASED.
NOW PLEASE CAN WE HAVE " ALL " OF ETTAS' 60s WORK RELEASED ON DISKS, THE MID AND LATE 60s TRACKS SURELY MUST BE HER MOST STUNNING WORK OF ALL, THE FIRE DOWN IN THE SOUL MUST BE MADE AVAILABLE TO ALL HER FANS.