August 21: Etta James released Tell Mama in 1968
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):
Sources: Liner notes Tell Mama, Wikipedia, Allmusic