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 1975-1993
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
I Can't Stand the Rain
Runtime: 46 minThis performance was recorded at Belgium's renowned Lokerse Feesten in 1996. As well as the classic 'I Can't Stand The Rain', the concert includes an awesome version of the autobiographical 'St. Louis Woman (With A Memphis Melody)'. She is best known for her inspirational recording of 'I Can't Stand The Rain', a 1974 classic which no less an icon than John Lennon described as "the greatest single ever." That clearly puts Ann Peebles right up there with soul divas like Aretha Franklin and Gladys Knight, and while the amount of her recorded work doesn't match up to theirs, it's hardly quantity that we're counting. This is all about quality and Ann Peebles has that aplenty.
Cook With The Hook: Live 1974
John Lee Hooker
Runtime: 45 minOn Saturday, July 6, 1974, Mississippi-Delta bluesman John Lee Hooker was a star attractions at an all-day festival attended by 6,000 people. The event in the town of Gardner Massachusetts was called "Down in the Dumps," a musical event held in the city landfill area. , Hooker's performance was captured on a three camera shoot and broadcast on cable television in local cities and towns.
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 at Montreux
Runtime: 1 hr 39 minMarvin Gaye blazed the trail for the continued evolution of popular black music moving from lean, powerful R&B to stylish, sophisticated soul to finally arrive at an intensely political and personal form of artistic self-expression. His work not only redefined soul music as a creative force but also expanded its impact as an agent for social change. Marvin Gaye recorded at the Montreux Casino on July 7, 1980, during the Montreux Jazz Festival.
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 Montreux
Runtime: 1 hr 11 minSoul Brother No.1, The Godfather Of Soul, Mr Dynamite. All titles that have been applied to James Brown over the years. A hugely influential figure in black American music he was a driving force in the development of soul music in the early sixties and funk in the early seventies. He has had more R n B hits in the US than any other artist and has charted singles in countries around the world.
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 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 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: 60 minAmy Winehouse was one of the most discussed singer-songwriters of her generation. Her soulful voice won her critical acclaim, scores of awards and fans from all walks of life, while her turbulent and decadent lifestyle made her an irresistible target for the press. In a time when photographs of Amy Winehouse in many states dominated the front pages, each new picture surpassing the last, as she appeared to incrementally crumble under the cocktail that was the magnitude of her success, it was her unique and heartfelt music that touched the hearts of millions of fans. Share her legacy.