Thursday, April 19, 2018

Etta James - Tell Mama ~ The Complete Muscle Shoals Sessions (2011)

Blues, Jazz, Soul, R&B | Mp3 320 kbps | 148 Mb

As the title suggests, this is the definitive edition of Etta James' Tell Mama long-player. For this single-disc release the original album is augmented with five previously unissued tracks -- documented during James' four Muscle Shoals sessions circa '67-'68. The question of why a rural Alabama town became a conduit for some of the most memorable and instantly identifiable grooves may still be up for debate. The evidence exists in droves and Tell Mama could certainly be considered exhibit A. These sessions feature the same impact that would redirect several first ladies of soul. Notable among them are Dusty Springfield's Dusty in Memphis, Aretha Franklin's I Never Loved a Man (The Way I Love You) and to somewhat lesser acclaim, Jackie DeShannon's Jackie. Tell Mama showcases some of the unique and admittedly darker qualities of what might best be described as R&B noir. "I'd Rather Go Blind," "Steal Away," "I'm Gonna Take What He's Got" all exemplify the essence of the blues -- making the best of a bad situation. The flipside of the sombre subject matter is the satisfying conviction in the music -- which is where the remastering becomes particularly noticeable. No longer does the brass section sound alternately muffled or harsh as it has on previous releases. Likewise, the churning Hammond B-3 organ swells with rich textures. Perhaps the most sonically evident improvements are the subtle ones, such as the supple fretwork on "Sweet Dreams," "I'd Rather Go Blind," and the jazzy percussive shuffle of "The Same Rope."

1. Tell Mama (2:24), 2. I'd Rather Go Blind (2:36), 3. Watch Dog (2:08), 4. The Love Of My Man (2:42), 5. I'm Gonna Take What He's Got (2:35), 6. The Same Rope (2:41), 7. Security (2:30), 8. Steal Away (2:23), 9. My Mother In Law (2:23), 10. Don't Lose Your Good Thing (2:28), 11. It Hurts Me So Much (2:37), 12. Just A Little Bit (2:08), 13. (Bonus Track) Do Right Woman, Do Right Man (11-1967) (3:01), 14. (Bonus Track) You Took It (8-1968) (2:38), 15. (Bonus Track) I Worship The Ground You Walk On (3-1968) (2:27), 16. (Bonus Track) I Got You Babe (3-1968) (2:28), 17. (Bonus Track) You Got It (8-1968) (2:27), 18. (Bonus Track) I've Gone Too Far (8-1968) (2:22), 19. (Bonus Track) Misty (8-1968) (3:15), 20. (Bonus Track) Almost Persuaded (8-1968) (3:23), 21. (Bonus Track) Fire (8-1968) (2:26), 22. (Bonus Track) Do Right Woman, Do Right Man (Alternate) (11-1967) (2:59)

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