Etta JAMES – Rocks the House 1963

Etta JAMES – Rocks the House 1963
1992 Issue.


Rocks the House was recorded live on the night of September 27-28, 1963 at the New Era Club in Nashville, Tennessee.

Hot with the releases of At Last! and The Second Time Around, Etta James Rocks The House became the artist’s first recorded live album under Chess Records. The concept was to catch James in a raw and fiery performance outside the recording studio. This album is among Etta James’ finest live recordings.
This album rivals B.B. King´s Live At The Regal for best live blues album ever. (Although, ironically, I think the weakest cut on the album is Sweet Little Angel, which nobody, not even Etta James can sing with the passion of B.B. King) The high points are Baby What You Want Me To Do and Woke Up This Morning. Her singing is so tough, so ballsy on these songs, I canÕt think of another singer to compare her to. She could make even Wilson Pickett and James Brown sound like wimps. She finishes both songs off with some scatting you have to hear to believe. She just takes my breath away. And several more songs on this album are almost as good.
Besides the incredible singing, the other thing that makes this album a joy is the audience. The excitement is palpable. On a couple of songs, she gets a thrilling call and response going with them, and their excitement seems to feed her. You can actually hear her getting energy from the audience. The album is the next best thing to Etta James in person.
Simply one of the greatest live blues albums ever captured on tape. Cut in 1963 at the New Era Club in Nashville, the set finds Etta James in stellar shape as she forcefully delivers her own “Something’s Got a Hold on Me” and “Seven Day Fool” interspersed with a diet of sizzling covers (“What’d I Say,” “Sweet Little Angel,” “Money,” “Ooh Poo Pah Doo”). The CD incarnation adds three more great titles, including an impassioned reprise of her “All I Could Do Was Cry.” Guitarist David T. Walker is outstanding whenever he solos.
By Bill Dahl, All Music Guide.
Though the studio albums Etta James made for Chess in the 1960s usually had the 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).

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’s “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’s gospel-drenched pipes wailing all the while.
Etta James Rocks the House indeed.
Etta James- (Vocals);
David Walker- (Guitar);
Gavrell Cooper- (Tenor Sax);
Vonzell Cooper- (Organ);
Marion Wright- (Bass);
Freeman Brown, Richard Waters- (Drums).
01. Something’s Got A Hold On Me 5:02
02. Baby What You Want Me To Do 4:14
03. What’d I Say 3:15
04. Money (That’s What I Want) 3:22
05. Seven Day Fool 4:20
06. Sweet Little Angel 4:14
07. Ooh Poo Pah Doo 4:04
08. Woke Up This Morning 3:38
09. Ain’t That Lovin’ You Baby* 2:51
10. All I Can Do Is Cry* 3:21
11. I Just Want To Make Love To You* 3:40

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