Etta James

Classic Masters

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Classic Masters Review

by Steve Leggett

This brief set collects a dozen of Etta James' earliest sides that she cut for Modern Records in the mid- to late '50s, including her first recording, 1954's "Dance with Me Henry" (which was later renamed "The Wallflower" in the hopes that audiences would overlook the song's explicit subject matter), the sturdy "Good Rockin' Daddy," and the raucous and impressive "Tough Lover," which was tracked in New Orleans with Lee Allen on sax. James has had a long and varied career since, and her passionate singing has made her an American musical treasure. These sides started it all.

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