I haven’t logged an easy drill run now for some time but seeing as how I’ve already completed a fast tempo ride this morning and it is my “Recovery Week”, there is no better time than the present. Oh, did I mention that there’s currently a tornado warning being issued at the moment? No? Well, there is. So, yeah, no outdoor run today either. So a-hopping, a-skipping and a-jumping around the Port Colborne track I will go…along to the ‘Rocks the House‘ album by Etta James.
Though the studio albums Etta made for Chess in the 1960’s usually had the (actually recorded live on the nights of September 27 and 28, 1963 at the New Era Club in Nashville, Tennessee before being released in 1964) blues singer surrounded by lush production and string-heavy arrangements, this live date finds her performing with only a rhythm section, organist, guitarist, and tenor saxophonist. The singer seems to respond to both the stripped-down setting and the enthusiastic audience with noticeable abandon. In fact, James the classy balladeer, a role she sometimes plays on her studio albums, is nowhere to be found on this blazing set. The only time the band slows down is on the tearjerker story-song ‘All I Could Do Is Cry‘ (though what the tune lacks in tempo it makes up for in emotional intensity).
It was recorded live on the nights of September 27 and 28, 1963 at the New Era Club in Nashville, Tennessee and released in 1964.
The rest of the set is straight-edged blues and R&B, including covers of some hits of the day, like ‘Money (That’s What I Want)‘ and Ray Charles‘ ‘What’d I Say‘. Jimmy Reed’s ‘Baby What You Want Me to Do‘ (on which James does a growling, harmonica-imitating vocal solo) steps up the blues quotient, as does the band’s finale of Willie Dixon‘s ‘I Just Want to Make Love to You‘, with James’ gospel-drenched pipes wailing all the while.
Yup, Etta rocked the house alright.
Oh, and ‘ol Thunder n’ Lightning felt pretty good too!
Now, it all the old bitties would just stay out the running lane.