Miss Etta James
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