Etta James: Stormy Weather


Stormy Weather


Etta James (vocals)


The Chess Box (Chess 112288)

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Etta James (vocals),

with Riley Hampton’s Orchestra (no details)


Composed by Harold Arlen & Ted Koehler


Recorded: Chicago, mid-October 1960


Rating: 88/100 (learn more)

Hearing Etta James belt it, you wonder whether such grandes dames as Ethel Waters and Lena Horne could truly convey the essence of "Stormy Weather." Backed by strings and 1950s-style rock 'n' roll piano triplets, Etta cuts to the quick. From start to finish, her gutsy, rafter-rattling down-home voice grabs us, shakes us and won't let go. Like Bessie Smith, Etta doesn't so much sing as preach to us. And nobody leaves her sermons as a nonbeliever. Oh, some old-time front-parlor backsliding gents may prefer more compliant women. But, assuming such ladies still exist, where's the fun in that?

Reviewer: Alan Kurtz


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