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Etta James: Matriarch of the Blues

Etta James wraps her regal pipes around some familiar pop and R&B material on Matriarch of the Blues. Included in this punchy set are earthy renditions of Bob Dylan’s “Gotta Serve Somebody,” O.V. Wright’s “Don’t Let My Baby Ride,” Al Green’s “Rhymes,” Otis Redding’s “Try a Little Tenderness,” Sandy Jones Jr.’s “Walking the Back Streets,” Ray Charles’ “Come Back Baby” and the Big Mama Thornton hit “Hound Dog.” She even puts her sultry stamp on the Rolling Stones’ “Miss You.” This is a worthy follow-up to 1999’s Heart of a Woman, her jazzy take on popular standards by Duke Ellington and Irving Berlin. And with her sons Donto and Sametto on board as player-producers, this bluesy project is a real family affair.

Originally Published