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Miss Peaches Stands Apart From The Crowd
on December 17, 2003
When songwriters Harry Warren and Mack Gordon had their composition At Last become the B-side to the 1942 Glenn Miller # 1 hit (I've Got A Gal In) Kalamazoo, they probably thought they had died and gone to Heaven. Especially when it too charted at a respectable # 14 with Ray Eberle doing the vocals. A decade later they struck paydirt again when the song was resurrected in the movie Orchestra Wives and then taken to # 2 by Ray Anthony & his orchestra.
But the best was yet to come, and when a 23-year-old from Los Angeles by the name of Jamesetta Hawkins decided to record it in 1961 under her stage name Etta James, from that point on it became HER song. It may not have done as well on the pop charts as the earlier versions [# 47] but it did become a # 2 R&B and is, by any standard, the best version of that enduring love song.
Her career had actually commenced in 1955 when, at age 17, she recorded an "answer" song to the 1954 # 1 R&B hit Work With Me Annie by The Midnighters [Hank Ballard and crew]. Also known as Roll With Me Henry, and with Richard Berry providing the bass male vocal, it too reached # 1 R&B early in 1955 as The Wallflower as by Etta James and "The Peaches" [hence the later nickname]. That same year Georgia Gibbs would have a # 1 pop with it as Dance With Me Henry.
Later that year she would have her second hit single when Good Rockin' Daddy climbed to # 8 R&B with the backing of The Dreamers, a group that included the great Jesse Belvin, and Maxwell Davis & His Orchestra.
Personal problems then set in, and Etta would be off the charts until early 1960 when she returned with the stirring ballad All I Could Do Was Cry, which scored on both the R&B [# 2] and pop [# 33] charts. And from there right through to 1976 she would be seldom off the charts, racking up another 27 R&B hits and putting 26 more on the pop charts.
This CD gives you the best of those along with nine pages of liner notes by Peter Grendysa of Words On Music Ltd., a partial discography of the contents [no chart information], and two more nice photographs of Etta, who was inducted into the R&R Hall of Fame in 1993.
Just 65 years old, Etta is still wowing them in personal appearances. This is a must-have compilation for any true R&B fan.