Friday, January 20, 2012


Today I'd liked to take a moment to pay a tribute to a woman born Jamesetta Hawkins.  The woman bridged rock, blues, funk, R&B, soul, and doo-wop, and pop.

I love music. And I love people who make rare contributions to the music world. Etta James is considered one of the most overlooked musicians of blues.

I started listening to her when I was about 7 years old. It's pretty random for a little white girl to get caught up in an old R&B singer like Etta James, but I'll be the first to admit I'm a rare breed. So is she. That's probably why I like her so much. Her album Seven Year Itch was my introduction to her in the 90s. My favorite song was "Damn Your Eyes." I'll never forget stealing her CD from my mom, and listening to the song on repeat, acting like a passionate and emotionally distraught blues singer in my room. Yes, I had an interesting childhood.

And let's not forget legendary tunes like "At Last," "Stormy Weather," and "Sunday Kind of Love." Damn, she was good. "Damn Your Eyes" is on my iPod, and I listened to it this morning. Not on purpose, it came on shuffle. Weird.

What's also weird is that I was thinking about Etta on a plane last week. I even thought to myself, "It's strange that I'm thinking about Etta James right now--I wonder where she is and what she is doing."

You know there was some pain and serious drug addiction in her life; she is a fallen nightingale. But through her voice, James brought a lot of warmth to a lot of people. Let's not overlook this soul of a woman and instead, thank her for her gift of real music.

No matter how scarred and marred a person's life, gifts and lessons abound. Every life is a note in the music of the world. Etta James is a prominent note in my opinion.

Liza Jane

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