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Classic Female Vocal Blues

20th Century Masters: The Best Of Etta James (Millennium Collection)

20th Century Masters: The Best Of Etta James (Millennium Collection) Lowest new price: $3.25
Lowest used price: $1.93
Brand: Mca
Model: 2582742

Hear the reigning queen of cool jazz croon her way through 11 of her best tunes on this greatest hits collection.

Few vocalists can muster the power and sass of Etta James when she's rocking the mike on classic R&B tunes like "Tell Mama" or "Something's Got a Hold on Me." But James also had a way with a ballad, and her sensitive readings of songs such as "At Last" and "All I Could Do Was Cry" made her a fan favorite in the early '60s. Had she not been sidelined for a while by an addiction to heroin, today we might think of James, not Aretha, as the Queen of Soul. Because this set offers only 11 cuts, it's generally inferior to Her Best: The Chess 50th Anniversary Collection, which boasts 20 tunes. Still, it's a satisfying intro to the delightful "Miss Peaches" nonetheless. --Daniel Durchholz


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Illuminations Lowest new price: $2.82
Lowest used price: $0.75
Brand: Word Entertainment
Model: 15035647

On 'Illuminations,' Groban worked with veteran producer Rick Rubin, known for his critically acclaimed work with Metallica, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Johnny Cash, and Dixie Chicks among many others. Groban co-wrote the majority of the songs, including 'Hidden Away,' which he wrote with Dan Wilson - former leader of the band Semisonic and co-writer of several cuts on the Dixie Chicks' 'Not Ready to Make Nice.' 'Hidden Away' was recorded live with Groban singing and playing piano, Matt Sweeney and Smokey Hormel on acoustic guitars, and veteran R&B icon Spooner Oldham on organ, with a striking orchestral arrangement by David Campbell added later. The opening piano chords and the unfolding melody evoke a timeless Americana, a thread from Stephen Foster through Aaron Copland through Paul Simon and Randy Newman, as Groban makes a heartfelt plea not to hide true love or one's true self.

'Illuminations' finds both Groban and Rubin stepping out of each one's respective zone and creating an entirely new zone. The bracing result fulfills Rubin's vision of a 'fine art' Groban record, marrying the warmth of the sweeping American roots of Groban's writing and the grandeur of classical settings by matching the live, one-take performances by Groban and the intimate, core acoustic band with colorful orchestral arrangements by David Campbell and James Newton Howard.



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Andrea Bocelli: Under the Desert Sky [DVD Included]

Andrea Bocelli: Under the Desert Sky [DVD Included] Lowest new price: $11.85
Lowest used price: $2.02
Brand: Sugar
Model: 2074083

Universal Classics presents a spectacular new DVD/CD combo package from Andrea Bocelli, featuring his first-ever pop concert performance taped live at the Lake Las Vegas Resort. This special holiday package will include music from Amore, Andrea's platinum selling CD, along with exclusive bonus content including duets with American Idol finalist Katharine McPhee, Tonyr Award winner Heather Headley, Stevie Wonder, and Chris Botti Under the Desert Sky will be available in both digipak and amaray versions each with both CD and DVD components. This is the digipak version.

It's impossible to hear Andrea Bocelli singing Perry Como's "It's Impossible" without being overcome by a sense of utter enchantment. As the ripe-hearted have known since 1997's Romanza, though, Bocelli's French-perfume-like appeal generally lingers well beyond a single song, suffusing entire lovestruck evenings with its richness and warmth. And so it goes with Under the Desert Sky. Recorded at a floating concert venue near Las Vegas (thus the title), Bocelli's first CD/DVD combo plays like an elaborate seduction. Cue up the DVD, and the crossover classical tenor, outfitted in black velvet, tortures the besotted with visible sincerity and knockout performances alongside David Foster and the elegant Heather Headley. Spin the CD and the songs come spilling out like elegant reminders of the swoon-worthy live performance. Several of the nine songs on the CD--"Cuando Me Enamoro," "Canzoni Stonate," and "Somos Novios (It's Impossible)" among them--are available on other Bocelli discs, but that shouldn't deter the faithful. For one thing, "Can't Help Falling in Love," a dazzling duet with American Idol's Katherine McPhee, can't be heard elsewhere. For another, outside of a few vintage Julio Iglesias albums, you just won't find this much feeling packed into a single 33-minute disc. It's impossible. --Tammy La Gorce

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Songs From the Road

Songs From the Road Lowest new price: $11.59
Lowest used price: $11.58
Brand: Shaw Taylor, Joanne
Model: 28935276

Following her acclaimed performance alongside Annie Lennox at the Queens Diamond Jubilee, the nations favorite blues goddess presents a new live CD and DVD


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The Best Of / Etta James

The Best Of /  Etta James Lowest new price: $3.61
Lowest used price: $1.32
Model: MSE194747

Etta applies her incredible voice and amazing ability to interpret a song to these Chess label hits: Tell Mama; Pushover; All I Could Do Was Cry; Stop the Wedding; Something's Got a Hold on Me; at Last; If I Can't Have You (with Harvey Fuqua); Almost Persuaded; in the Basement (Part One), and more, 18 in all.

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Ultimate Collection (Gershwin) (2 CD)

Ultimate Collection (Gershwin) (2 CD) Lowest new price: $14.17
Lowest used price: $6.10
Brand: Unknown
Model: 1991528

Definitive performances of Gershwin standards including Summertime; I Loves You, Porgy; A Foggy Day; S' Wonderful; Funny Face; Someone to Watch Over Me; Rhapsody In Blue, and more.

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Blues To The Bone

Blues To The Bone Lowest new price: $4.67
Lowest used price: $1.68


Californian Etta James decided against accepting filmmaker Martin Scorcese's personal invitation to sing at The Blues gala in New York in early 2003. The well-celebrated soul and blues queen makes amends here with what is one of the most blues-centered recordings in her expansive discography, bringing her big, no-nonsense voice and her feisty, proud woman's point of view to bear on classics, many identified with Chicago. The likes of Howlin' Wolf's "Smokestack Lightnin'," Jimmy Reed's "Hush Hush," and Muddy Waters's "Got My Mojo Working" may be hackneyed choices, but she seizes each of a dozen as her own, and clearly, as she says herself, these are the blues songs that touch her the deepest. No argument here. --Frank-John Hadley


  • Etta James - Blues To The Bone

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Her Best - The Chess 50th Anniversary Collection

Her Best - The Chess 50th Anniversary Collection Lowest new price: $8.43
Lowest used price: $2.09

Her Best - The Chess 50th Anniversary Collection by Etta James

When sold by, this product will be manufactured on demand using CD-R recordable media.'s standard return policy will apply.

Whether she sings string-laden pop ballads, lively soul, or gritty electric blues, James's high-powered, enormously expressive voice displays a knack for passionate blues inflections. Emotionally charged ballads including "At Last" and "All I Could Do is Cry" find James blasting through the orchestra with unearthly wails and moans. "If I Can't Have You," a duet with Harvey Fuqua, drops the orchestra in favor of horn-driven R&B and "Something's Got a Hold On Me" is a gospel-flavored romp reminiscent of Ray Charles. A live version of Jimmy Reed's "Baby, What You Want Me to Do" shows her raunchiest Chicago-blues style, and "In the Basement," with Sugar Pie DeSanto, is a funky workout. Also here are three classics from her soul-drenched 1967 Muscle Shoals sessions. --Marc Greilsamer

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12 Songs of Christmas

12 Songs of Christmas Lowest new price: $2.90
Lowest used price: $2.07
Brand: James, Etta

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Heart Of Mine - Love Songs Of Bob Dylan

Heart Of Mine - Love Songs Of Bob Dylan Lowest new price: $11.00
Lowest used price: $3.95
Brand: Telarc
Model: 2023791

Â"I saw Maria in the great Martin Scorsese documentary about Bob Dylan, No Direction Home,Â" says Elaine Martone, production supervisor for the project. Â"She had recalled many great stories and anecdotes about the early days, and there was some great footage of her performing in the Village in the early ‘60s with the Kweskin Jug Band. I was struck by the fact that sheÂ’d had a direct association with Dylan during his formative years, which I knew because she and I had spoken about from previous conversations. When Bob [Woods, executive producer] approached her about doing a recording of Dylan songs, she narrowed the focus and suggested an album of DylanÂ’s love songs. We thought that was an even better idea, and the result is a stirring, sensual album.Â"

Blues and folk chanteuse Maria Muldaur, a contemporary of Bob Dylan during his Greenwich Village heyday of the early ‘60s, brings it all back home by delving into the various ballads and love songs in DylanÂ’s rich catalog and interpreting them in her own trademark style. Among the eleven tracks are Â"Buckets in the RainÂ" and Â"Meet Me in the Moonlight Tonight.Â"

The incomparable Maria Muldaur has always traversed a wide expanse of American music--in 2003, she recorded A Woman Alone with the Blues, a tribute to jazz icon Peggy Lee--and so perhaps it shouldn't come as a surprise that she has now applied her interpretive gifts to the love songs of Bob Dylan. Choosing from among his classics ("I'll Be Your Baby Tonight") and lesser-known works ("Golden Loom"), Muldaur bravely recasts several songs in disparate grooves (reggae, Cajun, swing), and even allows keyboardist David Torkanowsky to sneak a few bars of the jazz standard "Ain't Misbehavin'" into the end of "Moonlight." As expected, Muldaur is most at home with lazy, country-blues treatments ("Buckets of Rain"). But she can also effectively pull off the intense drama of total sublimation, especially on "Wedding Song" and "Make You Feel My Love," which she renders so tenderly as to elicit a tear. The title track finds her trying to talk herself out of an unsuitable lover, yet one suspects she won't be able to outsmart her heart. On both "Lay Baby Lay" (the gender-switching version of "Lay Lady Lay") and "You're Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go," she eschews Dylan's urgent and poignant sexuality for sensuality, making both songs a study in how the sexes approach the chemistry of love. --Alanna Nash


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