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  • ETTA JAMES "Hickory Dickory Dock" (ACE - CDCHM 680)
    Hickory Dickory Dock / W-O-M-A-N / My One And Only / I'm A Fool / Strange Things Happening / Hey Henry / I Hope You're Satisfied / Good Rockin' Daddy / Sunshine Of Love / That's All / How Big A Fool / Tears Of Joy / The Pick Up / Market Place / Tough Lover / Doin' Something Crazy / Be My Lovey Dovey / Nobody Loves You (Like Me) / You Know What I Mean / The Wallflower (Dance With Me Henry) / Baby, Baby, Every Night / We're In Love

    The title track of this Etta James album, HICKORY DICKORY DOCK, iscurrently playing alongside the images of British Telecom's latest TVadvert. Etta needs no introduction - she is one of America's finestvoices; a household name and one of a few classic R&B/rock'n'roll femalevocalists with a powerful, confident singing style, renowned for itsperfect sense of timing. This mid-price CD contains her early recordingsand draws attention to the roots of her musical influences.

    Etta James grew up in 40s and 50s west coast America; at a time when asudden influx of immigrants looking for work at shipyards encouraged arapid growth in the local entertainment industry, with a thriving musichub in Los Angeles. From an early age she was exposed to early, wild andgritty music which became rhythm & blues.

    By the age of 15, Etta had formed a vocal trio with two friends and achance performance caught by Johnny Otis, initiated her journey tosuccess. Otis took the girls into Modern Records' studios to record RollWith Me Henry. Richard Berry was brought in mid-way through the sessionto re-arrange the song. The result was the retitled The Wallflower, aJames-Berry duet, which subsequently scored a #2 position in the R&Bcharts. It was covered by Georgia Gibbs for the pop charts (the popversion was toned-down and entitled Dance With Me Henry). The song ledEtta to touring with a host of R&B stars who included Little Richard,Nappy Brown and Bill Doggett.

    She returned to the studio to record a raunchy follow-up, Hey Henry, andher second hit, Good Rockin' Daddy (which peaked at #12 in the R&Bchart). In early 1956, the Bihari brothers brought Etta and JimmyBeasley (Modern's answer to Fats Domino) together in a session in NewOrleans. They wanted to mastermind a collaboration which would competeagainst Little Richard, rival label Specialty's hottest R&B act. Theoutstanding track was Tough Lover, featuring a blistering tenor solofrom Lee Allen, reminiscent of his performance on Long Tall Sally.

    Most of the sides contained here were recorded in New Orleans or LosAngeles during the late 50s, providing her entire Modern recordings.After her stint at Modern, Etta moved to the Chess labels, recordingseveral polished, emotion-drenched ballads. She continued to besuccessful in the R&B charts well into the late 70s and is still activeon the live performance circuit. In 1993, Etta James was inducted intothe Rock'n'Roll Hall Of Fame taking her rightful place in R&B history.