Etta James

Queen of Soul

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In part because it didn't have any of her biggest hits, the 1964 album Queen of Soul is a relatively overlooked one in Etta James' discography, even for an artist whose LPs weren't all that well known. The ten songs are dependable early soul music, though the material isn't quite on the level of her best mid-'60s work. "I Wish Someone Would Care" is about the best tune, but James was beaten to the punch on that score by Irma Thomas, who not only recorded the original and superior version, but also wrote the song. The one track to bear a James writing credit ("Bobby Is His Name," co-penned with Ed Townsend) is a pretty lightweight, almost teen pop-influenced number; "That Man Belongs Back Here with Me," co-composed by noted tunesmith Clint Ballard, is fair but not great pop-soul with a jazzy touch; "Flight 101" has a tinge of melodrama, though James' typically strong vocal saves it. "Loving You More Every Day" has a satisfying blues-gospel feel, but much of this has dated orchestration, even the closing "Mellow Fellow," which has one of her trademark, throaty, drawn-out testifying openings. Perhaps some of the album's overall unevenness can be attributed to it having been taken from sessions done over a period of two years.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 3:32
2 2:37
3 2:28
4 2:45
5 2:27
6 3:29
7 3:21
8 1:59
9 3:15
10 3:01
11 2:52
12 3:22
13 2:56
14 3:14
15 2:40
16 2:52
17 2:39
18 3:06
19 2:40
20 3:54
21 3:03
22 3:20
23 2:40
blue highlight denotes track pick