Etta James

Tough Woman: The Early Recordings 1955-1960

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This two-disc, 46-track set collects the best of Etta James' earliest sides 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 left Modern in 1958, signing with Argo Records in 1960, and her LP with that label, At Last!, which was released that same year, is also included here in its entirety. James, of course, 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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