Tuesday, 8 March 2011

"Who’s Blue? Rare Chess Recordings Of The 60s And 70s" by ETTA JAMES. A Review Of The 2011 Ace/Kent Soul UK CD Compilation.


Etta James is part of my "SOUNDS GOOD: Exceptional CD Remasters Soul, Funk & Jazz Fusion" Download Book available to buy on Amazon to either your PC or Mac (it will download the Kindle software to read the book for free to your toolbar). Click on the link below to go my Author's Page for this and other related publications:

                       http://www.amazon.co.uk/-/e/B00LQKMC6I

“…When You Talk That Sweet Talk…I Burn Like Oil On Fire…”

Across the 24 cuts on "Who’s Blue?" 18 sides are rare B-sides/album tracks new to CD - with one song (track 8) being a previously unreleased outtake from 1964. There’s a lot on here, so let’s get to the details…

Released in the UK on 28 February 2011, Ace/Kent Soul CDKEND 345 breaks down as follows (67:49 minutes):

1. Only A Fool
(From “Etta James”, 1973 USA LP on Chess 50042
Also 1974 USA 7” on Chess CH 2148, B-side of “Leave Your Hat On”)

2. Take Out Some Insurance
(From “Losers Weepers”, December 1970 USA LP on Cadet 847
Also 1971 USA 7” single on Chess CH 2112, A-side
Also 1975 USA 7” single on Chess CH 2171, B-side of “Lovin’ Arms”)

3. I’m So Glad (I Found A Love In You)
(From “Call My Name”, January 1967 USA LP on Cadet 4055
Also 1967 USA 7” single on Cadet 5552, B-side of “I Prefer You”)

4. (I Don’t Need Nobody To Tell Me) How To Treat My Man
(A Previously Unreleased Track That First Appeared On The 2000 Universal 3CD set “Etta James - The Chess Box”)

5. Fire
(1968 USA 7” single on Cadet 5620, A-side)

6. I’ve Been A Fool
(From “Etta Is Betta Than Evvah!”, 1976 USA LP on Chess 19003
Also USA 1976 7” single on Chess ACH-30001, B-side of “Jump Into Love”)

7. You’re The Fool
(From "Losers Weepers", December 1970 USA LP on Cadet 847)

8. Can’t Shake It
(Previously Unreleased 1964 Argo/Chess Recording, Released Here For 1st Time)

9. Do Right
(From "Queen Of Soul", 1964 USA LP on Argo 4040)

10. Nobody But You
(From “Etta James”. 1962 USA LP on Argo 4013)

11. Seven Day Fool
(From “The Second Time Around”, 1961 USA LP on Argo 4011)
(Also 1961 USA 7” single on Argo 5402, A-side)

12. That Man Belongs Back Here With Me
(From “Queen Of Soul”, 1964 USA LP on Argo 4040
Also 1964 USA 7” single on Argo 5477, B-side of “Breaking Point”)

13. Look Who’s Blue
(1964 USA 7” single on Argo 5465, Non-Album Track, B-side of Loving You More Every Day”)

14. You Can Count On Me
(From “Etta James”. 1962 USA LP on Argo 4013)

15. It Could Happen To You
(From “Sings For Lovers”. 1962 USA LP on Argo 4018)

16. Street Of Tears
(1962 USA 7” single on Argo 5418, B-side of “Stop The Wedding”)

17. Don’t Pick Me For Your Fool
(From “Call My Name”, January 1967 USA LP on Cadet 4055
Also 1967 USA 7” single on Cadet 5564, A-side)

18. Are My Thoughts With You
(From “Funk”, January 1970 USA LP on Cadet 832)

19. My Man Is Together
(From “Funk”, January 1970 USA LP on Cadet 832)

20. I’m Sorry For You
(1966 USA 7” single on Cadet 5526, Non-Album Track, B-side of “Only Time Will Tell”)

21. I Worry ‘Bout You
(From “Queen Of Soul”, 1964 USA LP on Argo 4040
Also 1963 USA 7” single on Cadet 5452, B-side to “Two Sides (To Every Story)”)

22. Let Me Know
(From “Etta James”. 1962 USA LP on Argo 4013)

23. What Fools We Mortals Are
(From “Funk”, January 1970 USA LP on Cadet 832)
24. Sweet Memories
(From “Funk”, January 1970 USA LP on Cadet 832)

The 24-page booklet is beautifully done – jam-packed with full colour plates of rarely seen album sleeves, pictured US 7” singles on Argo, Cadet and Chess, Sixties trade adverts for Cashbox and black & white publicity photos – a typically top job done by Ace. As well as the cleverly laid out pictorials - each song is broken down into properly detailed liner notes done by MICK PATRICK. The audio quality is great throughout too – full of life and presence – your speakers rattling with the bass and drums (remastering and audio restoration has been done by NICK ROBBINS and ROB SHREAD at the Sound Mastering Studios in London).

Proceedings open strongly with a brass floor-filler from 1973 called “Only A Fool”. But ‘funk’ isn’t really what’s on offer here overall (mores the pity). The not-so-aptly titled “Funk” LP from 1970 is a good example – it’s featured here by 4 tracks, but they’re pleading ballads and not kick-ass stuff the album title suggests. “What Fools We Mortals Be” and “My Man Is Together” are the better two.
Far cooler is the lone track from 1976 called “I’ve Been A Fool”. It features the ‘All Platinum’ label house band The Rimshots– and is a guitar-driven low down and dirty rock-funk tune (a great choice by compiler Mick Patrick - both as an album track and as a forgotten B-side).

As a listen, it’s a fascinating delve into the different styles her career pumped out into the public domain. There’s the crooner side of Etta in “It Could Happen To You”, a tune popularized by Jo Stafford and Dinah Washington before her. A slightly pop-country tip on “Look Who’s Blue” an old Don Gibson standard and the consummate balladeer on great unfairly forgotten B-sides like “I’m Sorry For You” and “I Worry ‘Bout You”.

Special praise has to go to Ace for the ‘previously unreleased’ nugget uncovered in some tape box somewhere “Can’t Shake It” – it may be a loner on here, but man is it good. Other highlights for me are the hard-hitting dancer “Don’t Pick Me For Your Fool” and the Stax Otis Redding sounding “Fire” – a Willie Dixon song sung originally by Koko Taylor (lyrics above).

To sum up –as a voracious collector of the Chess label, “Who’s Blue” is a winner for me. And speaking of Ace Records, they’re a little like great Woody Allen films (they come and go without enough people noticing them) - we are perhaps in danger of taking for granted how good Ace has become at these kind of compilations.

Lovely stuff and a job well done boys.

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