Saturday, January 21, 2012

Etta James: Thank you, and good night.

A voice that could stop traffic, silence a room and bring a tear to the hardest of eyes. One of the definitive voices of modern blues and a total legend to boot. I was bought up with Etta James records. Dad loved the great women of Jazz, and Etta James singing Billie Holiday covers were Sunday afternoon regulars. Personally I loved the more mowtown influenced Etta songs, Tell Mama being a wonderful example of the power of her voice to sing pop songs in almost a 60s girl group style.
The thing I loved best about Etta though was how easy it was to believe her. During a phase of crippling unrequited love I must have listened to At Last on repeat for hours, telling myself that one day, "at last my love would come along." When you listen to that song, you can believe Etta, one day everything will be OK.
I think there is nothing more glib than a twitter response to the death of a person. "OMG RIP Etta" just isn't going to cut it for this woman who yesterday lost an eighteen month battle with Leukaemia. And so to Etta James, who convinced me so many times that everything would be OK with nothing more than a simple song I say this:
Thank you, and good night.

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