This a first rate CD of Etta James' complete sessions at Muscle Shoals Studio in Alabama recorded between August 1967 and August 1968. The CD is 22 tracks - many previously unreleased - with a total playing time of just over 54 minutes.
The material is excellent throughout. Etta James is at the top of her game, the musicians behind her are great and the recording is excellent.
Many of the tracks included here are standards in the R&B genre. If you like classic 1950s and 60s R&B, you won't go wrong with this one.
This is arguably one of the essential recordings for anyone interested in 1960s R&B.
The ever-vivacious Etta James is one of R&B's true greats, an artist whose work will always stand the test of time and this album, originally released in 1968, is one of her best-known and most powerful. More dynamic than expressive, James was a gal who clearly knew how to rock, capable of the same sort of expansiveness as Jimmy Rushing or even jump blues shouters such as Wynonie Harris, but also with a touch of the sleekness seen in Dinah Washington and Ella Fitzgerald. The "Tell Mama" album is a flawless, timeless crowd pleaser, packed with upbeat, compact material, a tailormade showcase for James' mousy snarl. Backed by the best of the Muscle Shoals crew, this is music that can't easily be faulted; with ten bonus tracks added on for good measure, this CD edition is pretty hard to resist.
A must have for every soul brother and sister! Everything is perfect here, the chemistry is right, Etta swindles from the sheer contempt of "Tell Mama", to the poignancy of "The Love of my man", to the exuberant "Security" and the moving "I'd rather go blind"....Five stars are not enough!!
I was introduced to Etta James with Tell Mama, which I've always thought was a fantastic song. In 1984, I picked up a French pressing of "Peaches", a double LP of her best Chess material. I can still remember listening to that album for the first time. I was absolutely blown away! Not just with her voice, but with the quality of the songs, arrangements and sound. It became one of my most treasured albums, and there it stayed until I picked up the original Tell Mama CD in '90. Though it was in mono (I was at that time a snooty stereo guy), I thoroughly loved it. I was aware of how great Rick Hall, Fame and the whole Muscle Shoals scene was; how they turned out so many great records. This is an essential reissue, as it includes all of the songs that Etta cut there. The unreleased stuff is nearly as good as the original album. I now find out that most of the original masters were mono only, for some reason. At least we get the stereo masters that exist. It is evident from the pictures and the quotes included in this package that there was a ton of mutual respect between the Muscle Shoals folks and Etta, and it shows in the music. As it turned out, these sessions gave Etta her last big hit, unfortunately. But it certainly wasn't the end of her producing great music; her ongoing career is a testament to that. I've grown to love almost everything that Etta did for Chess, particularly the earlier stuff, when crossover was the primary aim. Her treatment of standards and ballads was exquisite. But when she came to Alabama, it was to cut Southern-fried soul, and she nailed it! An essential Etta record, an essential soul record, an essential '60s record. 'Nuff said.
Not too long ago and still today many artists of Miss James caliber would '' sell out '' to popular music for one sure hit.That is everyone but Etta, these recordings take you back to the true nitty gritty of up tempo blackeyed soul , to the southern sounds of down home soul. These are not only a great compilation of Etta's best work but a testament of the greatest vocalist to live!If any one deservers to be honored on VHI DIVAS LIVE,it would only be fitting to honor the real ''queen of soul''. Sorry no disrepect to Aretha but the voice tells the story!This is one of the best remastered recordings I have heard in a long time, the other is ''LADY IN SATIN''!If I was marooned on a desert island this is all you would need, it covers practically everything, even a remake of the old Cher hit ''I got you babe'',but Etta's interpertation makes a trifling song into a listenable and satisfying song. Etta's got the power and the loyalty to do what she wants, and with a voice like hers she can! You must see her performing live in concert, she will blow you away!