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Who's Blue?: Rare Chess Recordings From the 60s And 70s CD

5.0 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Frequently bought together

  • Who's Blue?: Rare Chess Recordings From the 60s And 70s
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  • Is Betta Than Evvah! + Bonus Tracks
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  • Queen Of Soul
Total price: £41.66
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Product details

  • Audio CD (28 Feb. 2011)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: CD
  • Label: Kent / Ace
  • ASIN: B004IT0ZOA
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 191,734 in CDs & Vinyl (See Top 100 in CDs & Vinyl)
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Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Only A Fool
  2. Take Out Some Insurance
  3. I'M So Glad (I Found Love In You)
  4. (I Don'T Need Nobody To Tell Me) How To Treat My Man
  5. Fire
  6. I'Ve Been A Fool
  7. You'Re The Fool
  8. Can'T Shake It
  9. Do Right
  10. Nobody But You
  11. Seven Day Fool
  12. That Man Belongs Back Here With Me
  13. Look Who'S Blue
  14. You Can Count On Me
  15. It Could Happen To You
  16. Street Of Tears
  17. Don'T Pick Me For Your Fool
  18. Are My Thoughts With You
  19. My Man Is Together
  20. I'M Sorry For You
  21. I Worry About You
  22. Let Me Know
  23. What Fools We Mortals Be
  24. Sweet Memories

Product description

Product Description

* "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.

BBC Review

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.


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