Etta James/ Let’s Roll by Michelle S.
I have to say that I’m a huge fan of Etta James’s music and have been for a very long time and like a fine wine, her music just kept getting better with age. Sadly, she passed in 2012 but her music is still very relevant to this day. She’s been around since the doo-wop days of the mid 50’s to the soulful 60’s heyday and quite surprisingly still kept going strong through the years considering all the trial and tribulations she has been through. She had endured some rather emotional times in her life including some nasty drug addictions but always managed to prevail through it all (which proves that she was no shrinking violet).
Her music spoke to people, if you were having a bad day, you could throw on her music and find yourself smacking your hand on the table and yelling “Yes, that’s what I’m talking about!” Sing it Etta! Ok, maybe not so loud and dramatic but to me, she had an amazing way of injecting her emotions into any song and truly making it her own. Whether she was with a band or just by herself, she always made a presence on stage and commanded everyone’s attention.
One of my favorite albums by her was her 2003 album “Let’s Roll” the reason being is that it allowed Etta to get back to her rock n roll roots, a genre that really showcases just how powerful her vocals really are as well as creating a nice raw organic setting for some down-home “no holds barred” type of grooves to happen. Plus, she produced “Let’s Roll” herself! Which is such a boss move for a female singer! The best way to describe the music on Let’s Roll would be the saying “like a moth to a flame” because when you play this album, the music just reels you in and makes you want to hear it over and over and over again. That’s just how good this album is!
“Let’s Roll is packed full of high – energy sound and yet just bluesy enough to get the foot tapping. I’m not going to sit here and preach to you about why you need to check out this album because if you don’t, it’s a tragedy you’ll have to deal with. Some key tracks to check out are “Somebody To Love”, which was co-written by Delbert McClinton, Strongest Weakness (my personal favorite) and Wayward Saints Of Memphis, which is just a spine-tingling sensation and downright amazing (it really emphasizes her range of vocals). She is a true legend and like most legends, they don’t perform for an audience, they communicate with them, reach into their mind and soul through their music and that’s why they become legends. Such is the case with Etta James. She’s a diva for all the good reasons!