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Etta James|Heart Of A Woman

Heart Of A Woman

Etta James

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Langue disponible : anglais

There's no denying that Etta James is a powerhouse, one of the finest blues singers of the 20th century. Perhaps that's what makes her latter-day records so frustrating: The talent is still apparent and abundant, but the albums themselves are unsatisfying. All the ingredients are in the right place, but something went slightly awry during the execution. After all, Heart of a Woman is a great idea for an album. James chose 11 love songs from her favorite female singers -- Billie Holiday, Dinah Washington, Sarah Vaughn, and Carmen McRae -- augmenting the album with a new version of her signature song, "At Last." She has recorded several of these songs before (including Alice Cooper's "Only Women Bleed," which inexplicably became a standard for both her and McRae), but the difference with Heart of a Woman is the context. Here, they're put in a smooth jazz setting, masterminded by James, who has producer credit. No matter how well she sings the songs here -- and she still possesses an exceptionally strong voice, robust and filled with passion -- the well-scrubbed, glossy surfaces on the record keeps it from being engaging. It's not bad listening, it just never has the emotional impact James intended it to have. At times, it's hard not to wish that she worked with a producer who brought her back to the organic sound of her classic '50s and '60s sessions, but James has been pursuing this smoothed-out style for a decade now. It's clear that this is what she wants to do. She still sounds good, and that means her latter-day albums are listenable -- but they don't resonate like the best of her records.
© Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo

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Heart Of A Woman

Etta James

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1
You Don't Know What Love Is
Various Interprets
00:05:28

Dave Matthews, Piano - Josh Sklair, Arranger - Josh Sklair, Assistant Producer - Josh Sklair, Director - Josh Sklair, Electric Guitar - Josh Sklair, Acoustic Baritone Guitar - Don Raye, Lyricist - Jay Newland, Engineer - Donto James, Assistant Producer - Donto James, Drum Programmer - Donto James, Drums - Lupe De Leon, Executive Producer - Gene DePaul, Composer - Sametto James, Assistant Producer - Sametto James, Bass - Rob Brill, 2nd Engineer - Peter Michael Escovedo, Congas - Peter Michael Escovedo, Percussion - Mike Finegan, Organ - Etta James, Arranger - Etta James, Producer - Etta James, Vocal - John Snyder, Co-Producer

(P) 1999 Sony Music Entertainment

2
Good Morning Heartache
Various Interprets
00:05:28

Lee R. Thornburg, Arranger - Dave Matthews, Piano - Josh Sklair, Arranger - Josh Sklair, Assistant Producer - Josh Sklair, Director - Josh Sklair, Electric Guitar - Josh Sklair, Acoustic Baritone Guitar - Ervin Drake, Composer - Jay Newland, Engineer - Donto James, Assistant Producer - Donto James, Drums - Dan Fisher, Composer - Lupe De Leon, Executive Producer - Sametto James, Assistant Producer - Sametto James, Bass - Rob Brill, 2nd Engineer - Peter Michael Escovedo, Congas - Peter Michael Escovedo, Percussion - Mike Finegan, Organ - Etta James, Arranger - Etta James, Producer - Etta James, Vocal - Irene Higginbotham, Composer - John Snyder, Co-Producer

(P) 1999 Sony Music Entertainment

3
My Old Flame
Various Interprets
00:06:20

Arthur Johnston, Composer - Lee R. Thornburg, Arranger - Dave Matthews, Piano - Josh Sklair, Assistant Producer - Josh Sklair, Director - Josh Sklair, Electric Guitar - Josh Sklair, Acoustic Baritone Guitar - Josh Sklair, Arranger - Red Holloway, Tenor Saxophone - Jay Newland, Engineer - Donto James, Assistant Producer - Donto James, Drums - Lupe De Leon, Executive Producer - Sam Coslow, Composer - Sametto James, Assistant Producer - Sametto James, Bass - Rob Brill, 2nd Engineer - Peter Michael Escovedo, Congas - Peter Michael Escovedo, Percussion - Mike Finegan, Organ - Etta James, Arranger - Etta James, Producer - Etta James, Vocal - John Snyder, Co-Producer

(P) 1999 Sony Music Entertainment

4
Say It Isn't So
Various Interprets
00:04:55

Lee R. Thornburg, Arranger - Lee R. Thornburg, Trumpet - Lee R. Thornburg, Trombone - Lee R. Thornburg, Flugelhorn - Dave Matthews, Piano - Dave Matthews, Arranger - Josh Sklair, Arranger - Josh Sklair, Assistant Producer - Josh Sklair, Director - Josh Sklair, Electric Guitar - Josh Sklair, Acoustic Baritone Guitar - Jay Newland, Engineer - Donto James, Assistant Producer - Donto James, Drums - Lupe De Leon, Executive Producer - Tom Poole, Trumpet - Tom Poole, Flugelhorn - Sametto James, Assistant Producer - Sametto James, Bass - Sametto James, Drum Programmer - Rob Brill, 2nd Engineer - Irving Berlin, Composer - Peter Michael Escovedo, Congas - Peter Michael Escovedo, Percussion - Mike Finegan, Organ - Jimmy Z, Tenor Saxophone - Etta James, Producer - Etta James, Vocal - John Snyder, Co-Producer

(P) 1999 Sony Music Entertainment

5
At Last
Various Interprets
00:04:40

Lee R. Thornburg, Arranger - Dave Matthews, Piano - Josh Sklair, Assistant Producer - Josh Sklair, Director - Josh Sklair, Electric Guitar - Josh Sklair, Acoustic Baritone Guitar - Jay Newland, Engineer - Donto James, Assistant Producer - Donto James, Drums - Lupe De Leon, Executive Producer - Mack Gordon, Composer - Harry Warren, Composer - Sametto James, Assistant Producer - Sametto James, Bass - Rob Brill, 2nd Engineer - Peter Michael Escovedo, Congas - Peter Michael Escovedo, Percussion - Mike Finegan, Organ - Etta James, Producer - Etta James, Arranger - Etta James, Vocal - John Snyder, Co-Producer

(P) 1999 Sony Music Entertainment

6
Tenderly
Various Interprets
00:05:27

Lee R. Thornburg, Arranger - Dave Matthews, Piano - Josh Sklair, Arranger - Josh Sklair, Assistant Producer - Josh Sklair, Director - Josh Sklair, Electric Guitar - Josh Sklair, Acoustic Baritone Guitar - Bobby Murray, Guitar - Jay Newland, Engineer - Donto James, Assistant Producer - Donto James, Drums - Lupe De Leon, Executive Producer - Sametto James, Assistant Producer - Sametto James, Bass - Rob Brill, 2nd Engineer - Peter Michael Escovedo, Congas - Peter Michael Escovedo, Percussion - Mike Finegan, Organ - Jack Lawrence, Lyricist - Etta James, Arranger - Etta James, Producer - Etta James, Vocal - John Snyder, Co-Producer - Walter Gross, Composer

(P) 1999 Sony Music Entertainment

7
I Only Have Eyes for You
Various Interprets
00:06:35

Lee R. Thornburg, Arranger - Dave Matthews, Piano - Josh Sklair, Arranger - Josh Sklair, Assistant Producer - Josh Sklair, Director - Josh Sklair, Electric Guitar - Josh Sklair, Acoustic Baritone Guitar - Al Dubin, Composer - Jay Newland, Engineer - Donto James, Assistant Producer - Donto James, Drums - Donto James, Drum Programmer - Lupe De Leon, Executive Producer - Harry Warren, Composer - Sametto James, Assistant Producer - Sametto James, Bass - Rob Brill, 2nd Engineer - Peter Michael Escovedo, Congas - Peter Michael Escovedo, Percussion - Mike Finegan, Organ - Etta James, Arranger - Etta James, Producer - Etta James, Vocal - John Snyder, Co-Producer

(P) 1999 Sony Music Entertainment

8
I Got It Bad and That Ain't Good
Various Interprets
00:06:25

Dave Matthews, Piano - Dave Matthews, Arranger - Josh Sklair, Assistant Producer - Josh Sklair, Director - Jay Newland, Engineer - Donto James, Assistant Producer - Paul Francis Webster, Lyricist - Lupe De Leon, Executive Producer - Edward Kennedy Ellington, Composer - Sametto James, Assistant Producer - Rob Brill, 2nd Engineer - Etta James, Arranger - Etta James, Producer - Etta James, Vocal - John Snyder, Co-Producer

(P) 1999 Sony Music Entertainment

9
You Go to My Head
Various Interprets
00:04:21

Lee R. Thornburg, Arranger - Dave Matthews, Piano - J. Fred Coots, Composer - Josh Sklair, Assistant Producer - Josh Sklair, Director - Josh Sklair, Electric Guitar - Josh Sklair, Acoustic Baritone Guitar - Josh Sklair, Arranger - Jay Newland, Engineer - Donto James, Assistant Producer - Donto James, Drums - Lupe De Leon, Executive Producer - Sametto James, Assistant Producer - Sametto James, Bass - Rob Brill, 2nd Engineer - Peter Michael Escovedo, Congas - Peter Michael Escovedo, Percussion - Mike Finegan, Organ - Etta James, Arranger - Etta James, Producer - Etta James, Vocal - John Snyder, Co-Producer - Haven Gillespie, Composer

(P) 1999 Sony Music Entertainment

10
Sunday Kind of Love
Various Interprets
00:06:00

Lee R. Thornburg, Arranger - Stanley Wayne Rhodes, Composer - Dave Matthews, Piano - Josh Sklair, Assistant Producer - Josh Sklair, Director - Josh Sklair, Electric Guitar - Josh Sklair, Acoustic Baritone Guitar - Red Holloway, Tenor Saxophone - Jay Newland, Engineer - Donto James, Assistant Producer - Donto James, Drums - Lupe De Leon, Executive Producer - Louis Prima, Composer - Sametto James, Assistant Producer - Sametto James, Bass - Rob Brill, 2nd Engineer - Anita Leonard Nye, Composer - Barbara Belle, Composer - Peter Michael Escovedo, Congas - Peter Michael Escovedo, Percussion - Mike Finegan, Organ - Etta James, Arranger - Etta James, Producer - Etta James, Vocal - John Snyder, Co-Producer

(P) 1999 Sony Music Entertainment

11
If It's the Last Thing I Do
Various Interprets
00:05:47

Lee R. Thornburg, Arranger - Dave Matthews, Piano - Josh Sklair, Arranger - Josh Sklair, Assistant Producer - Josh Sklair, Director - Josh Sklair, Electric Guitar - Josh Sklair, Acoustic Baritone Guitar - Jay Newland, Engineer - Donto James, Assistant Producer - Donto James, Drum Programmer - Donto James, Drums - Lupe De Leon, Executive Producer - Sammy Kahn, Composer - Sametto James, Assistant Producer - Sametto James, Bass - Rob Brill, 2nd Engineer - Peter Michael Escovedo, Congas - Peter Michael Escovedo, Percussion - Mike Finegan, Organ - Etta James, Arranger - Etta James, Producer - Etta James, Vocal - John Snyder, Co-Producer - Saul Chaplin, Composer

(P) 1999 Sony Music Entertainment

12
Only Women Bleed
Various Interprets
00:04:48

Lee R. Thornburg, Trumpet - Lee R. Thornburg, Trombone - Lee R. Thornburg, Flugelhorn - Lee R. Thornburg, Arranger - Dave Matthews, Piano - Josh Sklair, Arranger - Josh Sklair, Assistant Producer - Josh Sklair, Director - Josh Sklair, Electric Guitar - Josh Sklair, Acoustic Baritone Guitar - Jay Newland, Engineer - Donto James, Assistant Producer - Donto James, Drums - Lupe De Leon, Executive Producer - Tom Poole, Trumpet - Tom Poole, Flugelhorn - Dick Wagner, Composer - Alice Cooper, Composer - Sametto James, Assistant Producer - Sametto James, Bass - Rob Brill, 2nd Engineer - Peter Michael Escovedo, Congas - Peter Michael Escovedo, Percussion - Mike Finegan, Organ - Jimmy Z, Tenor Saxophone - Etta James, Producer - Etta James, Vocal - Etta James, Arranger - John Snyder, Co-Producer

(P) 1999 Sony Music Entertainment

Descriptif de l'album

There's no denying that Etta James is a powerhouse, one of the finest blues singers of the 20th century. Perhaps that's what makes her latter-day records so frustrating: The talent is still apparent and abundant, but the albums themselves are unsatisfying. All the ingredients are in the right place, but something went slightly awry during the execution. After all, Heart of a Woman is a great idea for an album. James chose 11 love songs from her favorite female singers -- Billie Holiday, Dinah Washington, Sarah Vaughn, and Carmen McRae -- augmenting the album with a new version of her signature song, "At Last." She has recorded several of these songs before (including Alice Cooper's "Only Women Bleed," which inexplicably became a standard for both her and McRae), but the difference with Heart of a Woman is the context. Here, they're put in a smooth jazz setting, masterminded by James, who has producer credit. No matter how well she sings the songs here -- and she still possesses an exceptionally strong voice, robust and filled with passion -- the well-scrubbed, glossy surfaces on the record keeps it from being engaging. It's not bad listening, it just never has the emotional impact James intended it to have. At times, it's hard not to wish that she worked with a producer who brought her back to the organic sound of her classic '50s and '60s sessions, but James has been pursuing this smoothed-out style for a decade now. It's clear that this is what she wants to do. She still sounds good, and that means her latter-day albums are listenable -- but they don't resonate like the best of her records.
© Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo

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