11 Songs, 50 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Announced as Etta James’ final album, The Dreamer is a satisfying finish for a woman who’s been making records for 50 years. The old-school soul cover of Guns N’ Roses’ “Welcome to the Jungle” goes beyond novelty; James finds the song’s heart and wrings out true sentiment. Little Big Town’s “Boondocks” becomes a dirty blues. Little Milton’s “Let Me Down Easy” proves that even with her voice not what it once was, James can do more with phrasing a lyric than other singers can do with a torrent of notes. Bob Montgomery’s “Misty Blue” uses a classic electric guitar to organ formation, leaving enough room for James to play. Her spirit is still strong on the fiery blues of Johnny “Guitar” Watson’s “Too Tired.” Classic tracks like Otis Redding’s “Cigarettes & Coffee” and “Champagne & Wine” have a touching, forlorn feel. They take on added poignancy sung by James, one of the few survivors of that bygone era. We won’t see the likes of her again. 

EDITORS’ NOTES

Announced as Etta James’ final album, The Dreamer is a satisfying finish for a woman who’s been making records for 50 years. The old-school soul cover of Guns N’ Roses’ “Welcome to the Jungle” goes beyond novelty; James finds the song’s heart and wrings out true sentiment. Little Big Town’s “Boondocks” becomes a dirty blues. Little Milton’s “Let Me Down Easy” proves that even with her voice not what it once was, James can do more with phrasing a lyric than other singers can do with a torrent of notes. Bob Montgomery’s “Misty Blue” uses a classic electric guitar to organ formation, leaving enough room for James to play. Her spirit is still strong on the fiery blues of Johnny “Guitar” Watson’s “Too Tired.” Classic tracks like Otis Redding’s “Cigarettes & Coffee” and “Champagne & Wine” have a touching, forlorn feel. They take on added poignancy sung by James, one of the few survivors of that bygone era. We won’t see the likes of her again. 

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