Thursday , February 29 2024
Her voice is a rare gift and national treasure...

Verse Chorus Verse: Etta James – “A Sunday Kind of Love”

Today I give thanks for one of the great timeless voices, Etta James.

James is more R&B than blues, but it was through her association with Chess Records that I really got to know her beyond her classic "At Last," which rates as one of a small handful of perfect musical moments in all of human history.

I took a circuitous path to the blues but when I started my voyage, I began with two single-disc Chess Records samplers and from there expanded to the 4-CD Chess Blues box set.  I devoured those six CDs and from them, a handful of favorites emerged and James is one of them.

When I bought my Etta James box set, one of the first things I learned was that I knew one of her songs from a Dockers' commercial.  I remembered thinking that voice sounded familiar, but it wasn't until I heard "A Sunday Kind Of Love" that I put it all together.  It's been a favorite of mine since- the song, not the pants.

In addition to just loving the sound of her voice, there's something special about the way she interprets a song that makes her stand out from just about anyone else I've ever heard.  It doesn't matter what she's singing about, there's an ever-present warmth in her voice that fascinates me.  Whether singing of love or heartbreak, there's a magical quality to her voice that feels reassuring.  Even when she takes on the role of a sassy, assertive diva there's still something mesmerizing about what she does. 

Her voice is a rare gift and national treasure that takes me to a place I don't go to when I listen to anyone else. 

About Josh Hathaway

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