Etta James – 1966 – Call My Name

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It’s extremely difficult for me to pick an album other than “At Last!” by the incomparable Etta James to jump-start what will most definitely be a series of Gems Of Jams to follow.  In choosing, I decided to go with one of my personal favorites of hers, an obscure record, but the album that launched a dirtier and grittier sound from Etta.  The extraordinary beauty of Etta’s early ’60s work is that she was a piranha cast into a sea of orchestral arrangements.

 The music was pretty, but her voice (even at 22) brought a razor-like growl to each track that nearly spliced the strings off the symphony backing her.  She was also surrounded by white background singers to appeal to white record-buyers and would sing so loud; she’d bust a microphone every now and then.  Released in 1967, “Call My Name” is a 12-song groove that will have you subconsciously “stank-facing” at any given moment.

A1 Happiness 2:48
A2 That’s All I Want From You 2:45
A3 Have a Little Faith in Me 2:40
A4 I’m So Glad (I Found Love in You) 3:12
A5 You Are My Sunshine 2:37
A6 It Must Be Your Love 2:52
B1 842-3089 (Call My Name) 2:57
B2 Don’t Pick Me for Your Fool 2:31
B3 I Prefer You 2:50
B4 Nobody Loves Me 2:45
B5 It’s All Right 2:37
B6 Nobody Like You 2:53

I was somewhat tentative in picking this one up. Not because of a lack of trust in Miss James bringing the goods, as she always does, but because of my slight aversion toward mid-60s soul coming from Chicago… Chi-town in the early to mid-60s had a habit of drowning its soul vocalists in ill-fitting orchestral arrangements, old-timey choirs and overtly smooth production values. For a good example: check out most of Jackie Wilson’s early to mid-60s recordings, and compare them with the stuff he delivered post-soul salvation in 1966. 

Etta had been saddled with this style of supper-club soul as well, but, luckily, picking up ‘Call My Name’ turned out to be quite rewarding. Recorded mostly in 1966, this LP is a pretty solid outing virtually all the way through.

The best track, “Happiness“, combines beautiful melodies with a sturdy, heavy groove and the anthemic “842-3089 (Call My Name)” is an obvious nod towards Wilson Pickett’s massive hit “364-5789 (Soulsville, U.S.A.), throwing in some Southern aesthetics in the mix.

There’s a fatback bounce to “That’s All I Want From You“, with its blaring horn chart, and the incessant stomper “I’m So Glad (I Found My Love)” mixes the tambourine-flavored sweet of Motown with the bottom-heavy groove of Memphis.

You Are My Sunshine” is not to be confused with the country standard: this is an R&B blow-out featuring a saucy sax, which perfectly alligns itself with Etta’s passionate vocal.

The downhome bluesy “Don’t Pick Me for Your Fool” is  further evidence of Etta looking south (check out her full-throttled vocal delivery, juxtaposted with those brilliant three-note horn riffs), as do “I Prefer You“, and especially the album closer, “Nobody Like You“, both delicious Stax-esque, mid-tempo grooves.

A typical down and out bit of wailing and pleading follows on the menacing “Nobody Loves Me“, a superb minor-keyed soul-blues set to a loping, gritty beat. More great horn work here, as well as some blistering guitar licks.

I’m a little less enthused about the remaining three tracks, which, while never bad, hint back at the ‘overblown’ era: the fast-paced “It’s All Right“, the overtly sentimental slowie “Have Faith in Me” and the smooth “It Must Be Your Love” sound a bit out of place here.

But that still means that you have nine bona fide soul gems here, making this a must-have album for any fan of the genre. True, Etta went for broke on the follow-up, ‘Tell Mama’, but ‘Call My Name’ is a grand set-up for that legendary disc.


Etta James- 1978 – Deep in The Night

Originally released on Warners Brothers to scant acclaim in 1978, this Jerry Wexler-produced masterpiece finds James in astounding voice with a batch of great material to apply her massive interpretive powers to. The band, including the cream of the late-’70s Los Angeles session hot-shots (Cornell Dupree, Jeff Porcaro, Chuck Rainey, Plas Johnson, Jim Horn), lays it down soulful and simple and the result is a modern-day R&B classic. Highlights abound throughout, but special attention must be turned to James’ takes on “Only Women Bleed” and the Eagles’ “Take It to the Limit.”

Download link Deep in The Night 

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Conversation for album: Etta James – 1966 – Call My Name

  • Alain
    Posted at 19:47h, 28 October 2018 Reply

    Oh hell yes. Beautiful times….Beautiful Music…..

  • Samuel
    Posted at 19:47h, 28 October 2018 Reply

    That amazing voice

  • federico
    Posted at 22:24h, 28 October 2018 Reply

    Niiiiiiice! Thanks 4 sharing this 1:)

  • ymer666
    Posted at 10:58h, 29 October 2018 Reply

    It’s my favourite year for music .thanks

  • Fabio
    Posted at 21:10h, 29 October 2018 Reply

    its sad that they cant make music beautiful any more

  • Cedric
    Posted at 13:14h, 30 October 2018 Reply

    Damn, I sure do love powerful voices.

  • Stephanie
    Posted at 13:16h, 30 October 2018 Reply

    Etta James is second to none!

  • Nani
    Posted at 19:02h, 30 October 2018 Reply

    Once again, another nice selection! Thanks!!

  • Gabriel
    Posted at 19:30h, 30 October 2018 Reply

    Oh my. Thank you for sharing this!

  • Eleanor
    Posted at 11:05h, 31 October 2018 Reply

    This is beautiful💕

  • Arthur
    Posted at 19:04h, 31 October 2018 Reply

    One of my Etta favourites, what a feeling she has

  • Barbara
    Posted at 21:55h, 31 October 2018 Reply

    Awesome voice ♥♥♥♥♥♥

  • Vernon J
    Posted at 10:30h, 01 November 2018 Reply

    Music like this soothe the soul!!

  • Peter
    Posted at 18:21h, 01 November 2018 Reply

    Such soulful & beautiful music thanks alot Nikos!

  • Emiliano
    Posted at 21:52h, 01 November 2018 Reply

    Like always, you pick em nice!

  • Alice
    Posted at 00:05h, 02 November 2018 Reply

    Always in my play list. A classic.

  • Dee
    Posted at 09:48h, 02 November 2018 Reply

    Just love it

  • Ben
    Posted at 23:16h, 06 November 2018 Reply

    Looking forward to this one thanks

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