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The Chess Box

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Etta James 6/27/2000

Review

Etta James is one of the towering figures of the blues, the foremost female blues vocalist of the second half of the 20th century, and the foundation of her legacy is her recordings for Chess Records in the '60s. Despite her reputation and enduring popularity, Etta didn't receive a box set retrospective between 1988 and 1990, the time when Chess was honoring such heavyweights as Chuck Berry, Muddy Waters, Howlin Wolf, Bo Diddley, and Willie Dixon with multi-disc retrospectives. They eased away from box sets during the '90s, only issuing a comprehensive double-disc Little Walter set early in the decade, but they finally returned to the sets in 2000 with a long-overdue Chess Box for Etta James. Like before, when they assembled terrific sets on Berry and Waters, they got it right. Collectors may find a favorite side missing, but the great majority of her best work for Argo, Cadet, and Chess is here. Although there are a handful of unreleased tracks, the point behind this set is to provide a thorough overview of the most pivotal years in James' career, and on that level, it succeeds tremendously. Like many career-spanning sets, it does dip slightly in quality on the last disc, but not enough to make this anything less than an essential addition to a thorough blues library, since even on the lesser material, she sounds terrific. As a matter of fact, it's rather astonishing how strong all these recordings are, from her terrific vocals to the songs themselves. It's a shame it didn't come out with the first round of Chess Box es, but it was worth the wait. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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  1. # Track Artist Length
  2. 1 All I Could Do Was Cry Etta James 2:53
  3. 2 My Dearest Darling Etta James 2:59
  4. 3 If I Can't Have You Etta James 2:55
  5. 4 I Just Want to Make Love to You Etta James 3:4
  6. 5 Anything to Say You're Mine Etta James 2:33
  7. 6 In My Diary Etta James 2:32
  8. 7 Spoonful Etta James 2:45
  9. 8 A Sunday Kind of Love Etta James 3:15
  10. 9 At Last Etta James 2:58
  11. 10 Stormy Weather Etta James 3:6
  12. 11 Trust in Me Etta James 2:55
  13. 12 Don't Cry Baby Etta James 2:21
  14. 13 Fool That I Am Etta James 2:56
  15. 14 One for My Baby (And One More for the Road) Etta James 3:23
  16. 15 Waiting for Charlie (To Come Home) Etta James 2:5
  17. 16 Don't Get Around Much Anymore Etta James 2:23
  18. 17 Next Door to the Blues Etta James 2:45
  19. 18 I Don't Want It Etta James 2:17
  20. 19 Something's Got a Hold on Me Etta James 2:45
  21. 20 Stop the Wedding Etta James 2:49
  22. 21 These Foolish Things Etta James 3:57
  23. 22 You Got Me Where You Want Me Etta James 2:49
  24. 23 I Want to Be Loved (But Only by You) Etta James 3:20
  25. 24 Prisoner of Love Etta James 2:12
  26. 25 Pushover Etta James 2:53
  27. 26 Be Honest With Me Etta James 3:3
  28. 1 Would It Make Any Difference to You Etta James 2:36
  29. 2 Look Who's Blue Etta James 2:21
  30. 3 Pay Back Etta James 2:36
  31. 4 Two Sides to Every Story Etta James 3:0
  32. 5 At Last Etta James 3:9
  33. 6 Baby, What You Want Me to Do Etta James 4:15
  34. 7 Lovin' You More Every Day Etta James 3:18
  35. 8 I Wish Someone Would Care Etta James 2:33
  36. 9 Bobby Is His Name Etta James 3:28
  37. 10 Only Time Will Tell Etta James 3:20
  38. 11 (I Don't Need Nobody to Tell Me) How to Treat My Man Etta James 3:0
  39. 12 In the Basement, Pt. 1 Etta James 2:20
  40. 13 Lover Man Etta James 3:52
  41. 14 Do I Make Myself Clear? Etta James 2:57
  42. 15 I Perfer You Etta James 3:2
  43. 16 It Must Be Your Love Etta James 2:56
  44. 17 842-3089 (Call My Name) Etta James 2:57
  45. 18 I'd Rather Go Blind Etta James 2:32
  46. 19 Tell Mama Etta James 2:20
  47. 20 Do Right Woman, Do Right Man Etta James 2:57
  48. 21 Security Etta James 2:27
  49. 22 I Worship the Ground You Walk On Etta James 2:23
  50. 23 You Took It Etta James 2:35
  51. 24 Almost Persuaded Etta James 3:19
  52. 25 You Got It Etta James 2:23
  53. 26 Light My Fire Etta James 2:49
  54. 1 Slow and Easy Etta James 3:16
  55. 2 The Soul of a Man Etta James 3:11
  56. 3 Miss Pitiful Etta James 2:19
  57. 4 Losers Weepers, Pt. 1 Etta James 2:57
  58. 5 I Found a Love Etta James 3:23
  59. 6 W-O-M-A-N Etta James 3:12
  60. 7 Never My Love Etta James 3:47
  61. 8 I Never Meant to Love Him Etta James 3:47
  62. 9 You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin Etta James 6:7
  63. 10 Sail Away Etta James 3:54
  64. 11 Down So Low Etta James 3:38
  65. 12 All the Way Down Etta James 5:30
  66. 13 God's Song (That's Why I Love Mankind) Etta James 3:34
  67. 14 Feeling Uneasy Etta James 2:47
  68. 15 St. Louis Blues Etta James 4:33
  69. 16 Let's Burn Down the Cornfield Etta James 3:39
  70. 17 Gonna Have Some Fun Tonight Etta James 4:1
  71. 18 Sookie, Sookie Etta James 3:7
  72. 19 Out on the Street Again Etta James 4:17
  73. 20 Lovin' Arms Etta James 3:46

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