Etta James – A Selection & Brief Discussion Of Her Recordings At Chess Records

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In 1960 Etta was to sign with Chess records, by it’s co-founder Leonard Chess. At Chess Records, Etta James’s musical style was to further come into it’s own. Here she was able to apply and showcase her musical versatility to several musical genres. This becomes apparent when listening to her recordings on Chess records and their subsidiary record labels. Her key musical genres including soul, r&b and blues. Some of her most successful ballads being All I Could Do Was Cry and At Last. Recorded in 1960 and 1961 respectively, on the Argo Label (a division of the Chess record label), these songs represent some of her most well known and popular work.

Whilst not only concentrating on singing ballads, Etta James’s future recordings were to include many uptempo R&B and Soul tracks. Although her catalogue of music is vast, Seven Day Fool and Mellow Fellow are some of my particular favourite songs by her. These are two examples of her songs which exemplify and demonstrate her vocal talent. Both are uptempo tracks and are to be found on the Argo Label from 1962 and 1964 respectively. As well as duetting with Harvey Fuqua in her formative years at Chess, she was to later duet with Sugar Pie DeSanto. As a result of this, two exceptional Soul and R&B tracks were produced. The first being Do I Make Myself Clear in 1965 and the second being In The Basement in 1966. Both found on The Cadet Records label, formally known as Argo Records.

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