From the mid-1950s to the present, Etta James' powerful, soul-charged voice has become deeper and rougher, with a rich texture and heartfelt inflections. It goes without saying that the woman known as "Mama" is aging like California wine, and she can still open wounds in her songs and come out standing strong. When she was five years old, Jamesetta Hawkins amazed the congregation of her church choir. When she belted out Gospel songs with absolute spiritual fervor, it was clear that the child was a musical prodigy. Her career as a singer began when she recorded "The Wallflower" with Johnny Otis in 1954 for Modern Records. A year later, the song topped the charts. In 1960, she moved to Chess Records and soon began cranking out hits such as the driving, jiving, southern soul smash "Tell Mama," which Janis Joplin covered later that decade. Since then, she has recorded for Island and Elektra, experimenting with rock and jazz, but always returning to her Gospel-soaked roots and southern soul.
Etta James Concert Films
Live at Montreux 1993
Runtime: 1 hr 4 minIn the words of Ben Fong-Torres:
Etta James, who passed away in 2012, was such a magnetic singer and presence that she was a semi-regular at the Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland, which is pretty selective about its bills. After her crack band opens with a couple, including “Hold On, I’m Coming,” James kills on “I’d Rather Go Blind,” “I Just Wanna Make Love to You,” and several more. “Come to Mama,” indeed!
Etta James made many appearances at the Montreux Jazz Festival across her long and distinguished career from her first concert in 1975 through to her last in 2008. This film focuses on the concert from 1993 when she was at her absolute peak and complements it with selected tracks from many other Montreux appearances. It features many of her best loved tracks and songs that she is particularly associated with. Etta James was one of the most respected performers of her generation. In a career stretching over 60 years she was inducted into the Rock n Roll Hall Of Fame and the Blues Hall Of Fame, won 3 Grammys and received many more nominations and was named Female Blues Artist Of The Year on no less than 14 occasions. Sadly, Etta James passed away after a long illness in January 2012 and this film is a fitting tribute to one of the greatest female vocalists of the 20th century.
Burnin' Down The House
Etta James & The Roots Band
Runtime: 53 minEtta James, and her long time backing band The Roots Band, showcases her ability to take on any genre and conquer it. In Burning Down The House she goes from the sultry jazz of At Last to the RocknRoll of I Just Wanna Make Love to You, to the deep blues of Id Rather Go Blind to the funk of You Can Leave Your Hat On.
Etta James Top Tracks
The Life of a Jazz Singer
Runtime: 1 hr 31 minAnita O’Day was one of the greatest of American jazz singers and this is her astonishing story—a journey of survival, and above all the endurance of her talent, told in a number of frank interviews with her and with those who knew her. Her career was long and eventful, spanning seven decades, her last album recorded when she was 84. Anita O’Day only ever wanted to be a singer and the film showcases performances that date back to the 50s with such artists as Gene Krupa, Roy Eldridge, Stan Kenton, Louis Armstrong and Hoagy Carmichael. She is shown teaching Billy Taylor how to be a jazz vocalist. She speaks candidly, always candidly, with Dick Cavett, Bryant Gumble and David Frost, with clips from interviews done on 60 Minutes and CBS This Morning. Bert Stern, commenting on his experience filming Anita perform Sweet Georgia Brown for his film Jazz on a Summer’s Day, said it was the greatest rendition of the song ever made. Anita was a musical genius and pioneer who broke reverse race barriers. She was commonly regarded as one of the top female artists of her time, together with Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan and Billie Holiday. The film portrays her as a woman who lived her life the way she wanted without ever looking back. She speaks openly about how she had to overcome great adversities, including a 20-year addiction to heroin and alcohol. She chose never to have children and married for only a brief period. She lived an often lonely life that was sustained only by her passion for music. Personalities talk about her quirky personality, while jazz critics and her few still living contemporaries speak of her extraordinary talent and how amazing it is that she continued to sing for so long. The film shows Anita on tour in Europe well into her eighties and her making that final recording, shortly before her death, the death of an icon.
Live in Africa
Runtime: 43 minWhen Muhammad Ali and George Foreman staged their heavyweight title fight in Zaire in 1974, a three-day music festival was held in tandem with the bout, and headliner B.B. King proved why he's regarded as the world's premier blues guitarist with this dynamic concert performed for an audience of 80,000 African fans (look carefully to spot Ali enjoying the show).
Live at Soundstage
Runtime: 56 minMind, Body & Soul Sessions features R&B phenom Joss Stone live in concert in 2004. Recorded at New York's Irving Plaza, the show begins with an introduction by the legendary Betty Wright, who co-produced the Brit's stunning debut, The Soul Sessions, and co-wrote several songs on the second, Mind, Body & Soul. The barefoot singer then gets down to business, performing a solid selection of material from both albums, including "Super Duper Love" from the first and "You Had Me" from the follow-up. Stone receives strong support from a tight band, distinguished by powerful drummer Caesar Griffin.
Live At The Royal Albert Hall 1979
Runtime: 57 minDusty Springfield is Britains greatest ever pop diva and the possessor of one of the finest and most soulful voices of all time. She dominated both the UK and US charts throughout the sixties with a string of hit singles that have stood the test of time as true classics. Originally a member of the folk trio The Springfields, from whom she took her stage name, she became a solo artist in 1963 after being exposed to the magic of Motown whilst playing in America and became probably the finest ever white soul singer. Diagnosed with breast cancer in the mid-nineties she died in 1999 at the age of just 59.
This concert, recorded at the Royal Albert Hall in 1979 in the presence of HRH Princess Margaret, captures Dusty at the height of her career. The show is packed with hits (including 9 UK top 10 singles), which are delivered with all the glitz and panache that were Dustys trademark and have made her a major gay icon as well as beloved of music fans everywhere.
Legends in Concert
Runtime: 46 min"Dionne Warwick (born Marie Dionne Warrick; December 12, 1940) is an American singer, actress and TV show host, who became a United Nations Global Ambassador for the Food and Agriculture Organization, and a United States Ambassador of Health. Having been in a partnership with songwriters Burt Bacharach and Hal David, Warwick ranks among the 40 biggest hit makers of the entire rock era (1955--2012), based on the Billboard Hot 100 Pop Singles Charts. Warwick ranks second only to Aretha Franklin as the most-charted female vocalist with 56 singles making the Billboard Hot 100 between 1962 and 1998.
Enjoy her sing some of her greatest hits live with a full band."
Gospel According to Al Green
Runtime: 1 hr 36 minGOSPEL ACCORDING TO AL GREEN looks at Green's transition from hugely successful soul singer to gospel artist and fundamentalist preacher. Filmed in concert in Washington, D.C., in rehearsal in his recording studio, in a service at his Memphis church, and in an extended interview, Green reveals himself to be an electrifying performer, whether singing love songs to women or spiritual ones to God.
Live at the Olympia
Runtime: 1 hr 42 minFilmed in October 2015, “Live At The Olympia Paris” captures Melody Gardot in concert at the legendary Belle Époque era venue in the French capital. The show focuses primarily on songs from her most recent album “Currency Of Man” and 2009’s “My One And Only Thrill” with a couple of surprise tracks thrown in for good measure.
Legends in Concert
Runtime: 59 minFor more than forty years the temptations have been wooing audiences around the globe and selling millions of records in the process
A collection of 16 classic songs by the soul band that has been going strong for over forty years. Includes hits such as 'My Girl', 'The Way You Do The Things You Do' and 'Papa Was a Rolling Stone'.
Runtime: 1 hr 16 minStill Bill is an intimate portrait of soul legend Bill Withers, best known for his classics "Ain't No Sunshine," "Lean On Me," "Lovely Day," "Grandma's Hands," and "Just the Two of Us." With his soulful delivery and warm, heartfelt sincerity, Withers has written the songs that continue to resonate deeply within the fabric of our times. Filmmakers Damani Baker and Alex Vlack follow Withers and offer a unique and rare look inside the world of this fascinating man. Through concert footage, journeys to his birthplace and interviews with music and sports legends, his family and closest friends, STILL BILL presents the story of an artist who has written some of the most beloved songs of our time and who truly understands the heart and soul of a man.
Live in France 1961: Antibes Jazz Festival
Runtime: 1 hr 28 minBy 1961 Ray Charles had established himself at the forefront of popular music. He had several R&B hit singles on Atlantic Records in the fifties and crossed over into the mainstream with his hit “What’d I Say” in 1959. He then moved from Atlantic Records to ABC and had further success throughout the sixties. The concert was filmed at the Antibes Jazz Festival in July of 1961 when Ray Charles was at the peak of his powers.
Live at Montreux 1976
Runtime: 1 hr 12 minNina Simone one of the great female vocalists of the 20th Century, made four appearances at the Montreux Festival between 1968 and 1990. This film features the whole of the performance from 1976 as the main item, which is supplemented as bonus features by two tracks from her concert in 1987 and four from her final show in 1990. This is the definitive Nina Simone live film.
The Final Goodbye
Runtime: 1 hr 11 minThe Last Goodbye is an intimate look into the life and times of Amy Winehouse. This in-depth program chronicles her rise to pop superstardom and also offers a sensitive portrayal of a transformative star and the inner demons that inspired her work and eventually caused her untimely death. Her battle with addiction and her courtship with self destruction were well documented through the press. Even her troubled relationship with Blake Fielder-Civil was played out in front of British Media. But despite this backdrop, Amy Winehouse will be remembered for her unique song writing style fusing R & B, soul and jazz influences sang through a deep contralto vocal. The 'Back to Black' album symbolised her huge success at this time which led to an astonishing 5 Grammy awards- 'the most wins by a female artist in a single night'. This insightful programme is a definitive testimonial to an incredible music icon covering the start of her career up until her death.
Live at Montreux 2006
Runtime: 1 hr 56 minSoul legend Solomon Burke delivers a twenty-song set in Montreux. He delivers renditions of such classics as "Georgia On My Mind," and "I Will Survive,", and he performs a number of medleys that include such recognizable standards as "When the Saints Go Marching In," "Sitting on the Dock of the Bay," and "Tutti Frutti."
Mr. Dynamite: The Rise Of James Brown
Runtime: 1 hr 60 minDirected by Oscar and Emmy winner Alex Gibney, and co-produced by Mick Jagger, Mr. Dynamite: The Rise Of James Brown digs into the career of one of music and culture's towering figures, using fresh interviews with band members and contemporaries, extraordinary historical interview footage, and rare archival. Film running time is 120 minutes. Bonus features include an essay by Mick Jagger, 27 minutes of additional interviews, commentary, photo gallery and Soul Train performances.