Etta James, 'The Essential Modern 
Records Collection' (Capitol/EMI)

7
The Essential Modern 
Records Collection
Critical Mass
Release Date: April 5, 2011
Label: Capitol/EMI

by Andrew Hultkrans

Bleach-blonde blueswoman Jamesetta Hawkins shot to fame in 1955 at age 15 when she answered Hank Ballard's R&B hit "Work With Me, Annie" with "The Wallflower" and Bo ?Diddley's "I'm a Man" with ?"W-O-M-A-N," becoming something like the Roxanne Shanté of her day, a brassy, mouthy female taking no guff in a male-dominated field. Though she's celebrated for her post-1960 Chess recordings and '67 Muscle Shoals scorcher Tell Mama, her '50s singles, collected here, trace the development of soul's first queen.

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