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 Night James Brown Saved Boston
Runtime: 1 hr 14 minApril 5, 1968. It is the day after one of the most catastrophic moments in the history of the civil rights movement. Backstage at the Boston Garden, the mood is somber, appropriately funereal. Just 24 hours ago, Martin Luther King, Jr., the most important and beloved African American leader in America, has been assassinated, and though James Brown is booked that night for a show, nobody really wants to go onstage and play: On April 4, 1968, the leader of the nonviolent resistance movement, Martin Luther King, was assassinated in Memphis; On April 5, 1968, James Brown sang, and the city of Boston didn't burn down. This film tells the story of the pivotal role that James Brown-and that particular James Brown concert-played in the political, social and cultural history of the country, focusing on 1968, a defining year for America. Using actual performance footage and the personal recollections of James Brown's band members, friends like activist Reverend Al Sharpton, personal manager Charles Bobbitt, Princeton University Professor Dr. Cornel West, Boston citizens, those who attended the concert, politicians (such as former Boston Mayor Kevin White) and Newsweek's David Gates, The Night James Brown Saved Boston tells the compelling story of an artist at the absolute peak of his powers using his artistry for the greater good.
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.
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 Eurockéennes De Belfort 2007
Runtime: 52 minThis live performance remembers her as the outstanding performer she was when in top shape. The Eurockéennes de Belfort is one of France's largest rock music festivals. The Eurockéennes, a play on words involving the words rock and européennes (Europeans), is based in a nature reserve in Malsaucy near Belfort.
Live in 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.
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."
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.
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.