Here’s to Etta, crossing over the River Jordan

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Miss Etta James
1938-2012

With news of Miss James’ passing at age 73, there was only one way to go with the Friday Travelin’ Music. Etta was one of a kind, maybe the greatest female blues singer of them all. She had the voice and she had the attitude, a performer who excelled at strutting her considerable stuff.

The obvious selection to honor her tonight would be her classic “At Last,” but the song below is also one of my favorites. I chose it for another reason as well.

As Etta mentions, she is accompanied here by Shuggie Otis, a talented guitar player who wrote and performed the classic “Strawberry Letter 23.” Shuggie is also the son of the great Johnny Otis, who discovered Etta as a young teenager.

Johnny died earlier this week at the age of 90, and had a great career himself as a musician and a promoter. In fact, until Etta upstaged him, Johnny was going to kick off tonight’s Travelin’ Music segment with his song “Hand Jive,” which most of us know from the various covers performed over the years by Eric Clapton and others.

So here’s Etta, doing “Baby, What You Want Me To Do.”



– Jay Bookman

81 comments Add your comment

Quotemeister

January 20th, 2012
3:31 pm

“She was wonderful” Me

Normal

January 20th, 2012
3:31 pm

Matti

January 20th, 2012
3:35 pm

Wow… Good one, Mr. B! Man, I hate that we’re losing the all the good ones. :-(

For Bruno, even though he is terribly (and often cruelly) wrong about the “liberal” heart.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1DChW7LtosY

HDB

January 20th, 2012
3:36 pm

Classic, Jay…..but to honor all THREE (Etta, Johnny…and Shuggie)….you made me listen to “Inspiration Information” by Shuggie on my iPod…….

RIP, Etta and Johnny…..great music went up to heaven………

josef

January 20th, 2012
3:38 pm

Finn McCool

January 20th, 2012
3:38 pm

What a voice.

md

January 20th, 2012
3:45 pm

Unorthodox, but a tribute to the other great talent passing this week:

http://youtu.be/6v02dp_4rj4

Juan Williams - Tokens Have Feelings Too

January 20th, 2012
3:50 pm

I liked Etta James. When she dyed her hair blonde like that, she looked almost white.

Sadly she forgot to straight out her roots.

Sigh.

Toking Ain’t Easy.

josef

January 20th, 2012
3:52 pm

josef

January 20th, 2012
3:59 pm

Juan

Was that really necessary? Show some respect…and the joke wasn’t funny the first time…

#1 Foxy Lady

January 20th, 2012
4:01 pm

she lived more of a rock-n-roll life than any rock-n-roller.

r.i.p. etta

md

January 20th, 2012
4:02 pm

Jo……Juan thinks he’s/she’s being cute………I like giving folks like that plenty of rope…..

You know the rest……

(and no, it isn’t racial…..applies to all)

Kamchak

January 20th, 2012
4:09 pm

“Oh my ding a ling, my ding a ling
I wanna play with my ding a ling a ling”
–Thomas Jefferson

josef

January 20th, 2012
4:09 pm

BRUIN

Why you closing out the other one…? Thought it was a good one, too…

paleo-neo-bluesman

January 20th, 2012
4:11 pm

hey, you zapped my comment on the Johnny Otis bit, but I did not know of the James-Otis connection. it’s almost cliche’ to cite “At Last” (’specially now that it has been pimped to sell Jaguars, or whatever). but if “At Last” introduced folks (like me) to Etta’s less known performances, all the better.

Jay

January 20th, 2012
4:13 pm

I just wanted to avoid confusion. That was the post I had originally set up for tonight, before the news about Etta. It wasn’t supposed to post at all, but somehow it did.

Common Sense isn't very Common

January 20th, 2012
4:16 pm

Jay – will forgive you just this one time :-)

AmVet - “A lot of so-called conservatives don’t know what the word means." ~Barry Goldwater

January 20th, 2012
4:18 pm

Great choice, Jay.

Damn, md, I sure am sad to learn that; I knew she hurt herself terribly. Just damn…

JamVet

January 20th, 2012
4:23 pm

josef, that 3:38 is such a superb song. I’m always blown away when one of the greats does it.

stands played this one the other night and I’ve been digging on it ever since…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=90c80YD0Ht8&feature=related

paleo-neo-bluesman

January 20th, 2012
4:24 pm

bit of a stream of conciousness ramble, but I kinda miss the “junkie” connection, and isn’t it interesting that many addict performers lived long, productive lives. sure Janis, Jimi, Morrison, Cobain, and Winehouse all croaked themselves, but Etta nearly made it to 75, Keith, Clapton, and Tom Waits are are still going strong. It took an accident to take SRV away.

willie lynch

January 20th, 2012
4:24 pm

We can’t stay forever so make lasting memories while you can. Thank god for recorded music. Etta is one of a kind.

josef

January 20th, 2012
4:28 pm

josef

January 20th, 2012
4:32 pm

Monarch of the Glen…

Whatcha mean “avoid the confusion…” Where do you think you are? This is FNM

and a blast from the past… “superman, where are you now…” :-)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zU9lv_WqK6k

JamVet

January 20th, 2012
4:35 pm

paleo, interesting.

And I think the dual aspects of that lifestyle – some make it, some don’t – informed a lot of us would be rock and roll stars.

I’m really thankful that me and my mates all lived through some of those truly wild times. Gawd knows we took a lot of chances.

And now a lot of us have gone the other way – clean living and going to the gym regularly!

Before all of that though, there were these guys. I know that they had a big influence on everyone from the Beatles to Bob Dylan.

And when I was just a lad, this one, especially those amazing harmonies, really knocked me out…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0kugBjlnnaA

N-GA

January 20th, 2012
4:35 pm

josef

January 20th, 2012
4:43 pm

N-GA

Great minds! :-)

jconservative

January 20th, 2012
4:45 pm

Absolutely wonderful!

Good job Jay.

JamVet

January 20th, 2012
4:50 pm

A cool case of old school covering newer, albeit not new, school…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pOS5tEfDLKc

Kamchak

January 20th, 2012
5:08 pm

Jay

January 20th, 2012
5:22 pm

Great post, Kam. Blasting out my speakers….

godless heathen

January 20th, 2012
5:22 pm

Nice choice, Jay.

The fav for a night like this.

http://youtu.be/Qr5djzzeA3M

Jay

January 20th, 2012
5:24 pm

Luv that song, Godless. Loved it long before I ever set foot here. Great match of melody, lyric and voice.

godless heathen

January 20th, 2012
5:27 pm

godless heathen

January 20th, 2012
5:37 pm

Weeks like this I wish I believed in eternal suffering.

Ryan Brunn. This one’s for you.

http://youtu.be/AoKMXwBpsAM

JamVet

January 20th, 2012
5:49 pm

Agreed Jay and Kam, a great cover of that fantastic Boz Scaggs tune.

And that Brook Benton song is wonderful. His voice and that plaintive guitar are just so damn emotional.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IDUwa6dixII

Matti

January 20th, 2012
5:50 pm

JamVet

January 20th, 2012
6:02 pm

My knowledge of and appreciation of the old, “real’ stuff has grown exponentially since FNM. Thanks to our wonderful listening audience!

This is but one of the great blues masters that I was virtually unaware of.

And it just makes all of that John Mayall, Paul Butterfield, Zep, Cream and all the others that much more enjoyable…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hXoRljXZwK0

Bruno

January 20th, 2012
6:07 pm

For Bruno, even though he is terribly (and often cruelly) wrong about the “liberal” heart.

Matti–It isn’t the liberal “heart” that I question. It’s the liberal “head”. I know you deeply care for the welfare of others. Do you grant me the same return consideration??

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=quBCjo2rUZg

And since when did you start caring about what I thought?? Love always…… ;-)

Matti

January 20th, 2012
6:08 pm

JamVet,

Most excellent BMT!

Brosephus

January 20th, 2012
6:16 pm

RIP Etta…

We could probably do an updated version of this song with the people lost recently. It still seems appropriate in this case. G*d’s assembling one bad choir….

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UvUZ8Vh2UIY

Bruno

January 20th, 2012
6:18 pm

Catch you guys in a little while. Here’s one for PB. I found out last night she can do a mean cha-cha:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1DXLCiU_GUg&feature=fvst

Soothsayer

January 20th, 2012
6:39 pm

JamVet

January 20th, 2012
6:44 pm

It was really interesting when Wiki and others blacked out this week. As derided as it sometimes is, it’s presence on the web is arguably unrivaled.

Bro, one of the songs mentioned in that great Commodores song…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l92oMUNhgng

0311/1811

January 20th, 2012
7:10 pm

Brosephus

January 20th, 2012
7:17 pm

AmV

That was one smooth Brother…

josef

January 20th, 2012
7:19 pm

My good mood of a Friday has been shot to hell, so I’ll bid y’all adieu…

Bruno

January 20th, 2012
7:25 pm

JamVet–If you’re still around, I want to throw an invite out to you to join me, PlatinumBlack and some friends down at the Variety in L5P tomorrow night to see two of my favorite local groups, Deep Blue Sun and the Grapes. Let me know if you’re interested.

Matti–If you’re around, would love to see you there also. Maybe we can get Jay on board, who knows….

Press # 9, Sweet Angeline:

http://www.archive.org/details/grapes1992-04-11.shnf

Brosephus

January 20th, 2012
7:27 pm

AmV

After watching that clip of Jackie, I had to go back and check out the baddest man EVER on two feet…..

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rqG07cs6cEM&feature=related

How does the Night Shift get to work? The Night Train, of course….

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rqG07cs6cEM&feature=related

Brosephus

January 20th, 2012
7:28 pm

Sorry for the double post on the link…

Redneck Convert (R--and proud of it)

January 20th, 2012
8:02 pm

Well, here’s one by a guy that crossed over Jordan way too young. It’s for all the folks that say “I got something inside me” but it can’t get out and it never gets out. Have a good weekend everybody.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c5dwksSbD34

TaxPayer

January 20th, 2012
8:05 pm

JamVet

January 20th, 2012
8:09 pm

Bro, I loved those old Shindig clips. Some of my first memories of hot new music were on that show. LOL…

B, sounds good, I found this…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TvfbnezyYHk

Kamchak

January 20th, 2012
8:19 pm

Bruno

January 20th, 2012
8:21 pm

Jam–That is one of their “staples” at shows, along with “I Want You” by the Beatles.

If you think you can make it tomorrow, let me know. I’m pretty sure I can score us some backstage passes. That way I’ll pay my bet off in advance in case Obama wins.

PB and I are going to stay at the Intercontinental Hotel on Peachtree. She’s excited about the trip.

moonbat betty

January 20th, 2012
8:45 pm

Etta rocks your face off.

And so does Sylvester

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j0Vh-a2l6SY

JamVet

January 20th, 2012
8:52 pm

RC, that Chapin clip really is epic. He was an extraordinary man.

Bruno, let’s do it. We talked about how we were at the same TR show there once.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U1e41AVdeus&feature=related

Common Sense isn't very Common

January 20th, 2012
8:55 pm

RC – I saw the sequel clip and thought you might like it.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aeMX1JfqKuc&feature=related

moonbat betty

January 20th, 2012
9:02 pm

Redneck Convert (R--and proud of it)

January 20th, 2012
9:05 pm

Well, thanks, JamVet and Common. I never understood why Harry Chapin gets passed over today, even on the 70s stations. Once in a while you hear “Cat’s in the Cradle,” but to my mind “Taxi” is a much better and deeper song. BTW, my buddy Jim Earl tells me that one refrain comes from a poet, somebody named Sylvia Plath.

Common Sense isn't very Common

January 20th, 2012
9:06 pm

Here’s one for Newt – his theme starts at 2:50

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XWRFSgTQUh0

JamVet

January 20th, 2012
9:08 pm

Moonbat, monster!

What a wild child that one was.

I don’t believe that AIDS is the wrath of God. People have a tendency to blame everything on God.~Sylvester James

Bruno

January 20th, 2012
9:10 pm

Bruno, let’s do it. We talked about how we were at the same TR show there once.

Okay, buddy, I’ll give you a meeting time tomorrow. I have to work until 6, so we’ll be cutting it close to the showtime. If you want to forward some contact info through Jay, you are welcome.

Bruno

January 20th, 2012
9:13 pm

Once in a while you hear “Cat’s in the Cradle,” but to my mind “Taxi” is a much better and deeper song.

I don’t know, Redneck, you’re sounding more and more like a damn Yankee every day.

Kamchak

January 20th, 2012
9:16 pm

moonbat betty

January 20th, 2012
9:21 pm

Bruno

January 20th, 2012
9:23 pm

Bruno

January 20th, 2012
9:24 pm

Bruno, RC is from Vermont.

Geez, you would think he would have had a little more love for old Dave R. who, I believe, was from Massachusetts.

Kamchak

January 20th, 2012
9:24 pm

JamVet

January 20th, 2012
9:39 pm

Kam, reminded me a bit of the lovely Karen Carpenter.

I’ve skied Vermont. It was fine. Deep fresh snow at Pico Peak and Killington, Fun apres ski with the New England snow bunnies. LOL. I was the stuff back then!

Looks like big fun, B.

Trust me, you’ll wanna turn this one way up…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4owvyAwUVl8

Kamchak

January 20th, 2012
9:44 pm

Brother AmVet

Saw an ad for Rumer on BBC America and was really impressed. Check out her song Aretha on youtube.

moonbat betty

January 20th, 2012
10:11 pm

JamVet

January 20th, 2012
10:13 pm

Awesome, that reminded me a bit of Laura Nyro.

And hot damn, am I good or what? I read this after my last, Rumer’s voice has been described by The Guardian as being reminiscent of Karen Carpenter.

Bruno

January 20th, 2012
10:26 pm

Alright, Jam, we’re getting our plan together. The show starts at 8, so PB and I can meet you outside the Variety close to that time. I’m going to whip out one of my Grateful Dead shirts to wear, so should be easy to spot the right-wing Republican in tie-dye with the 5′ 9″ model on my arm.

You better not punk out on me this time, or your name is Mudd around here. ;-)

Bruno

January 20th, 2012
11:17 pm

Well, no one here, might as well whip out some funk:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=osPx7TZGmr0

Bruno

January 20th, 2012
11:26 pm

I’ve been so many places, in my life and time…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nLevsb8jlXo

Bruno

January 20th, 2012
11:32 pm

Wish that I could wind like a spiral stair through time…….

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2fkiXvmxmXU&feature=related

JamVet

January 20th, 2012
11:40 pm

B, not to worry, I’ll be there.

Great Temptations.

That first song reminds me of EW&F. The second is pure Leon Russell gold.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2UhResTVZ6s

Bruno

January 20th, 2012
11:43 pm

I’m a bachelor, it’s not my choice…..

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gb0deqlUb70

Bruno

January 20th, 2012
11:46 pm

B, not to worry, I’ll be there.

If you face the front of the Variety, we’ll be hanging out on the left side in honor of Jay. Look for us a few minutes before 8. Send a cell number through Jay if it makes you feel more secure about hooking up.

JamVet

January 20th, 2012
11:52 pm

Will do, and was gonna do that very thing. (Great minds.)

I wish I’d seen him just for the chick factor alone…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3GuNiAHwP8U

Detroit Freddie

January 21st, 2012
3:59 pm

Etta could cover any song and do it better, but NO one can cover any of Etta’s songs and do it better! (incidently, “Baby What You Want Me to Do” is a cover of the Jimmy Reed classic)