Etta James: You can leave your hat on

Talk about covers, this is a wicked take on the Randy Newman son. She’s backed by the excellent Roots Band at the House of Blues in LA in 2001. She is so bad! I can think of another instance where she took a macho male song and turned it on its ear, a woman talking sexy to a man: “Work with me Henry,” years ago, cover of the classic, “Work with me Annie,” by Hank Ballard and the Midnighters.  She’s a powerhouse.

I was listening to Etta one time when I realized that great singers (like her, Otis, Sam Cook, Aretha, Al Green, etc.) always do exactly the right thing. There are many choices to make for a singer, and the tempo, timing, inflection, ad libs, etc. are always perfect. Zing! Right in there. I heard Howlin’ Wolf earlier today and it sounded so powerful — 50 years later. I’m afraid I’m going back and back in time in my musical tastes of late. Where is the equal of Muddy Waters in this day and age?

About Lloyd Kahn

Lloyd Kahn started building his own home in the early '60s and went on to publish books showing homeowners how they could build their own homes with their own hands. He got his start in publishing by working as the shelter editor of the Whole Earth Catalog with Stewart Brand in the late '60s. He has since authored six highly-graphic books on homemade building, all of which are interrelated. The books, "The Shelter Library Of Building Books," include Shelter, Shelter II (1978), Home Work (2004), Builders of the Pacific Coast (2008), Tiny Homes (2012), and Tiny Homes on the Move (2014). Lloyd operates from Northern California studio built of recycled lumber, set in the midst of a vegetable garden, and hooked into the world via five Mac computers. You can check out videos (one with over 450,000 views) on Lloyd by doing a search on YouTube:

3 Responses to Etta James: You can leave your hat on

  1. The equal of Muddy Waters is playing to lovers of his (or her) music in some shit-hole dive in a neighborhood where you and I might not be welcome. But we would venture there to see him (or her)just to get a taste of the awesomeness that is the equivalent Muddy Waters…

  2. Lloyd, I would encourage you and all others to check out this terrific new tribute album just released by Steve Cropper, house guitarist for Stax records and Booker T and the MGs. 15 classic songs from The 5 Royales, all of them written before 1958. Wow! Best thing I've heard in years, it'll knock you out.

    'Aside from Cropper's guitar playing, the album features an amazing set of musicians which includes bassist David Hood (Muscle Shoals sideman), keyboardist Spooner Oldham (Fame Studios sideman and top notch song writer who has also played with Neil Young), Dap-Kings saxman Neal Sugarman, drummer Steve Farone, and drummer Steve Jordan. There's also an all star line up of special guests: Steve Winwood, B.B. King, Shemekia Copeland, Delbert McClinton, Lucinda Williams, Queen guitarist Brian May, and singers Sharon Jones and Bettye LaVette.'

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