Love Songs

Love Songs

Etta James: Love Songs compiles a collection of songs conducive to slow-dancing and making out. Starting with the silky “At Last,” this near-perfect collage eschews the chart hits for amorous themes culled mostly from James’ ‘60s tenure on Argo and Chess Records. “A Sunday Kind of Love” hits home for anyone who is partial to sleeping in on the Sabbath with a significant other before strolling outdoors and enjoying the day together. The sweeping strings on “My Dearest Darling” smoothly contrast a brassy bass horn as James professes an undying love for her muse with the kind of fiery passion found on Otis Redding’s best recordings. The sultry “If I Can’t Have You” is a powerful duet with Harvey Fuqua that boasts bordello-parlor piano and a classic striptease-sounding chorus that gets steamy on the harmonies. Anyone who has ever loved the Association’s hit “Never My Love” deserves to dig into this previously unreleased version of the Addrisi Brothers’ classic, recorded by James in the early ‘70s.

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