The great late Etta James would have been 77 years old today we celebrate her here at Alldylan by presenting her Bob Dylan interpretations. As far as I know there are only two. Gotta serve somebody is good but Blowing in the wind has a strangely artificial drum sound. Listen to it and make up your own minds.
Something told me it was over When I saw you and her talking. Something deep down in my soul said cry girl, When I saw you and that girl walking.
I would rather, I would rather go blind, boy, Than to see you walk away from me, child.
Tell Mama is the eighth studio album by Etta James. The album was released August 21, 1968 on Cadet Records and was produced by Rick Hall. Tell Mama was James’ first album since 1963 to enter the Billboard 200 albums chart and contained her first Top 10 and 20 hits since 1964. It was her second release for the Cadet record label.
Tell Mama (on US TV, Happening ’68, 1968):
Leonard Chess sent Etta James to Muscle Shoals in 1967 (2 August – 6 December), and it really paid off with what might be her best Cadet album. The record has a fantastic title cut, it has the moving soul ballad I’d Rather Go Blind, it has the incredible The Love of My Man and a many more very fine soul numbers. The tight studio band at Fame Studios really shone next to Etta James. The music they made is timeless soul/blues, it’s a masterclass in record making.
An incredibly good version of I’d Rather Be Blind (Live at Montreux 1975):
“The question of why a rural Alabama town became a conduit for some of the most memorable and instantly identifiable grooves may still be up for debate. The evidence exists in droves and Tell Mama could certainly be considered exhibit A. “
– Lindsay Planer (Allmusic)
One of the best soul albums ever made, and certainly among Etta James’ best records!
Listen to Miss James testify in a country church style on It Hurts Me So Much, oh my God how good it is!
Etta James – Tell Mama (Album, The Complete Muscle Shoals Sessions, Spotify):
“When I sing for myself, I probably sing for anyone who has any kind of hurt, any kind of bad feelings, good feelings, ups and downs, highs and lows, that kind of thing” – Etta James
Etta James (born Jamesetta Hawkins; January 25, 1938 – January 20, 2012) was an American singer. Her style spanned a variety of music genres including blues, rhythm and blues, rock and roll, soul, gospel and jazz. Starting her career in 1954, she gained fame with hits such as “Roll With Me, Henry”, “At Last”, “Tell Mama”, “Something’s Got a Hold on Me”, and “I’d Rather Go Blind” for which she wrote the lyrics. She faced a number of personal problems, including drug addiction, before making a musical resurgence in the late 1980s with the album The Seven Year Itch.
James is regarded as having bridged the gap between rhythm and blues and rock and roll, and is the winner of six Grammys and 17 Blues Music Awards. She was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1993, the Blues Hall of Fame in 2001, and the Grammy Hall of Fame in both 1999 and 2008. Rolling Stone ranked James number 22 on their list of the 100 Greatest Singers of All Time and number 62 on the list of the 100 Greatest Artists. (Wikipedia)
I’d Rather Go Blind (Montreux 1975):
Allmusic.com (Mark Deming):
Few female R&B stars enjoyed the kind of consistent acclaim Etta James received throughout a career that spanned six decades; the celebrated producer Jerry Wexler once called her “the greatest of all modern blues singers,” and she recorded a number of enduring hits, including “At Last,” “Tell Mama,” “I’d Rather Go Blind,” and “All I Could Do Was Cry.” At the same time, despite possessing one of the most powerful voices in music, James only belatedly gained the attention of the mainstream audience, appearing rarely on the pop charts despite scoring 30 R&B hits, and she lived a rough-and-tumble life that could have inspired a dozen soap operas, battling drug addiction and bad relationships while outrunning a variety of health and legal problems.