Etta James

The Best of Etta James [EMI-Capitol Special Markets]

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A paired-down version of the 18-track, 1950s-centric The Best of the Modern Years collection, EMI Special Markets' ten-song budget set The Best of Etta James doesn't even begin to scratch the surface of the legendary blues and soul diva's extensive body of work -- most of which was arguably recorded for Chess during the '60s. However, it may fulfill its cost-effective mission for barely curious listeners, so long as they are aware that they won't actually be hearing any blues singing here. Rather, this set shows a still teenaged Etta delivering alternately sassy, sultry, and explosive interpretations of early rock & roll ("Good Rockin' Daddy," "Tough Lover," "Dance with Me Henry") and doo wop ("Do You Remember," "Hold Me, Squeeze Me," "Crazy Feeling"), as well as her first R&B chart-topper, "The Wallflower." Not a bad introduction to an introduction, if you will, especially since there are no amenities such as liner notes, photos, or even a CD booklet to speak of, to be had here.

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