Review #191: At Last!, Etta James

Karla Clifton
2 min readOct 27, 2021

#191: At Last!, Etta James

Not to make an example of anyone, but I know a few people who thought “At Last” was by Aretha Franklin. I’m dubbing today “Etta James Awareness Day.” If you see a friend, let them know that “At Last” was by the inimitable Etta James!

This came out eight years before The Who’s Tommy, our last entry, which is kind of wild to me. History — it’s both shorter and longer than we think it is.

James’ full/real name was actually Jamesetta Hawkins, which is I think an amazing name that we should bring back in style. Also, she was a badass. Did you know she dated B.B. King, and said that his song “Sweet Sixteen” is about her?

FAVORITE SONGS:

“Anything To Say You’re Mine” — Her voice is so gorgeous, so huge and smooth.

“My Dearest Darling” — Something about the quality of her voice makes it sound like she could have recorded all of these last year.

“Sunday Kind Of Love” — I just love the sentiment of this one — A love to last past Saturday night. Apparently this one is a jazz standard. I’m always thrown off by how many songs in old albums are actually covers.

“Tough Mary” — The chorus singers make the contrast seem even more stark — they sound like they’re of a different era, and Etta James just sounds timeless.

“I Just Want To Make Love To You” — Muddy Waters cover! Her voice goes in all kinds of different directions. I want to marry Etta James.

“At Last” — Impossible not to sing along to. This was originally written for the movie Sun Valley Serenade, and it’s just wild that so many of these are covers.

“All I Could Do Was Cry” — I love when she repeats the word “rice.”

“Girl Of My Dreams” — This one sent me down a rabbit hole; I couldn’t help but notice that James was singing to the BOY of her dreams. Must be a cover, I reasoned. Well, it is. A cover of a song by Sunny Clapp, who has much less of an Internet presence than I was expecting. The only Wikipedia page I could find for him was in German. The past really is another country, and it gets farther away every day.

LEAST FAVORITE SONGS:

“Trust In Me” — I’m sorry but all I could think about was the song “Trust In Me” from the Disney movie The Jungle Book, the one with the snake. It was distracting.

IS RS FULL OF IT?

Another one that I think can be bumped up a little bit. Etta James Awareness Day! Let’s make it happen.

Review #190: Tommy, The Who

Review #192: Licensed To Ill, Beastie Boys

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