Farewell Miss James

Etta James has died at the age of 73.

Etta James, the earthy blues and R&B singer whose anguished vocals convinced generations of listeners that she would rather go blind than see her love leave, then communicated her joy upon finding that love at last, died Friday morning, said her son, Donto James. She was 73.

She died of complications from leukemia at a hospital in Riverside, said Dr. Elaine James, her personal physician.

James had been in failing health for years. Court records in the singer’s probate case show she also suffered from dementia and kidney failure. Her two sons had been in a court battle with their stepfather over conservatorship of her $1-million estate. Doctors announced in December that she had chronic leukemia.

The first time I heard Etta James sing “At Last”, I went weak at the knees.  Her voice was like an entire choir of angels.  I was fortunate to be able to work with Miss James at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival awhile back.  I’d already heard a lot about what it was like to work with her since I had a longstanding relationship with one of her drummers.  I did all the mics on the Gentilly Stage and helped with the front of the house mixing and speakers.  If you ever go to a concert, you don’t even know all that’s going on because it’s the sound stuff for the performers not the audience. You may have to give one person a bit more drum or a bit more bass or whatever it is they need to hear.  You can also add a little reverb for that angelic feel.  Anyway,  what a performance and what Etta James did with that Mic!  Not only did she sing into it, but she mimicked all kinds of sex acts with it.  She tongued it quite a few times and it went quite a few places that were surprising to me.   Needless to say, I put my work gloves on before I put the Mic back in the box.  But, I have to admit, that sitting on that stage, hearing that voice up close, was one of the real treat of my life.  I put a video down there.  You can see me on the left if you look really hard.

Sweet Dreams Miss James!!

7 Comments on “Farewell Miss James”

  1. Pat Johnson says:

    I often wonder how many “unplanned pregnancies” occurred when this song played in the background.

    That song was one of the sexiest of all time, right next to Barry White singing anything.

    Still straining to catch a glimpse of you on the video.

  2. ralphb says:

    She was so great. Thanks and RIP!

  3. bostonboomer says:

    RIP Etta. Thank you for all the great music you left us!

  4. Fannie says:

    Thank you Etta, your name will be on the lips of Americans forever.

  5. Minkoff Minx says:

    Thank you for sharing your story and that video Dak. What an amazing voice, and that was in 2009…she should have sung at the Obama inaugural.