This is part of Chess' 50th Anniversary Collection series.
Personnel includes: Etta James (vocals); Harvey Fuqua, Sugar Pie DeSanto.
All tracks have been digitally remastered.
Personnel: Etta James (vocals); Jimmy Johnson , David T. Walker, Ken Marco, Matt "Guitar" Murphy, Albert Lowe (guitar); Floyd Newman, James Mitchell , Aaron Varnell, Charles Chalmers (saxophone); Gavrell Cooper (tenor saxophone); Gene Miller (trumpet); Dewey Oldham (piano, organ); George Davis, John Young (piano); Vonzell Cooper, Carl Banks, Barry Beckett (organ); William D. "Smitty" Smith (keyboards); David Hood (electric bass); Roger Dawkins, Kenny Rice, Richard Waters, Freeman Brown, Al Duncan (drums); King Errisson (congas).
Liner Note Author: Peter Grendysa.
Recording information: Chicago, IL (01/??/1960-06/19/1970); L.A., CA (01/??/1960-06/19/1970); Muscle Shoals, AL (01/??/1960-06/19/1970); New Era Club, Nashville, TN (01/??/1960-06/19/1970).
Photographers: Jim Marshall ; Ray Avery.
Unknown Contributor Role: Erick Labson.
Arranger: Riley Hampton.
While several best-ofs from Etta James' Chess period have been available over the years -- with the two-disc, 44-track Essential Etta James at the top of the list in giving the big picture -- this 20-track collection sweats that bigger picture down to bare essentials. For those wishing to finally sample Etta's classic period at Chess without opening the wallet for box set expense, this single-disc retrospective will fill the bill quite nicely. Featuring 20 of the tracks that appear on the double-disc Essential anthology without anything literally essential left off, this scintillating little disc now officially becomes the one-stop, first-time purchase in connecting with the emotional greatness inherent in Etta's siren song. There's plenty more after this to discover, but this is absolutely where you start. ~ Cub Koda
Down Beat (8/97, p.60) - 4 stars (out of 5) - "...this one is a keeper.... over the course of a 20-song program, we hear James during two stays on Chess..."
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