I visited The Blues Foundation website today and it had a list of some of the winners and a few that I took notice of were Etta James, Jerry Lee Lewis, John Lee Hooker, and Charley Musselwhite. So in celebration of the accomplishments that these artists have made I am going to do an article on each of them and the music that they perform. My first will be for Etta James.
Etta James, what an incredible talent. She has recieved the award forÂ Traditional Blues Female Artist of the Year for 2007. I admire the tenacity of someone to continue working and recording for so long and still is able to produce a quality product. She has been recording songs since her first single “Roll With Me Henry” back in 1954 that she recorded with The Peaches. That song eventually found it’s way to #1 on the R&B charts under the name of “The Wallflower (Dance With Me Henry)”. The Peaces didn’t last very long but Mrs. James continued on and toured with the likes of Otis Redding, Little Richard, and Johnny “Guitar” Watson in the 50’s. She released one other hit in the 50’s that was called “Good Rockin’ Daddy” and a few other songs that were not hits but added to the legacy of the great blues woman.
The 60’s saw her release 24 songs that made it into the charts. This was her beginning with Chess records. She recorded Blues, Pop, and R&B tunes Solo and as a duet with her then boyfriend Harvey Fuqua. Her biggest hit seemed to be At Last! which was released in ‘61 and became somewhat of a signature song for her. During this time she is starting to be recognized as a Blues pioneer and her popularity in the delta region helped.
She has released 16 albums since 1994 and as far as I know continues to record to this day with her newest album being All the Way. Probably the only blues lady that will be considered as her better is Billie Holiday but Etta James is great and there is no real way to compare the two. I know I thoroughly enjoy my copy of the CD Matriarch of the Blues and if you like the blues I am sure you will too. Be sure to check out Mrs. James website when you get a chance to find out a little more about this great women. Also check out some of her recordings from the Chess years with this boxed set;