At Last!

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At Last!
Studio album by Etta James
Released November 15, 1960
July 27, 1999 (re-release)
Recorded January – October 1960
Genre Blues, R&B, traditional pop, soul blues
Length 29:11
Label Argo (original)
MCA/Chess (re-release)
Producer Phil Chess
Leonard Chess
Etta James chronology
At Last!
(1961)
The Second Time Around
(1961)
Singles from At Last!
  1. "All I Could Do Was Cry"
    Released: 1960
  2. "My Dearest Darling"
    Released: 1960
  3. "At Last"
    Released: 1960
  4. "Trust in Me"
    Released: 1961
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 5/5 stars Link
Rolling Stone 5/5 stars[1]

At Last! is the debut studio album by American blues and soul artist Etta James, which includes the title song "At Last". The album was released on Argo Records in November of 1960 and was produced by Phil and Leonard Chess. The original release contained four of James' hits on the Rhythm and Blues Records Chart between 1960 and 1961. It was her first of five studio albums James would release on the Argo label.

At Last! was ranked at #119 on Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Albums of All Time in 2012.[2]

History[edit]

The original release of At Last! was issued as a 12-inch LP, consisting of ten tracks, with five songs on each side of the LP.[3] Phil and Leonard Chess believed that James's voice had crossover pop potential, and therefore with her debut album, they both backed her with orchestral arrangements on many of the album's tracks, including "At Last" and "Trust in Me".[4] At Last! spawned four singles to the R&B and pop charts between 1960 and 1961: "All I Could Do Was Cry", "Trust in Me"; "At Last", and "My Dearest Darling". It includes covers of pop and jazz standards, such as "Stormy Weather" and "A Sunday Kind of Love", as well as "I Just Want to Make Love to You".[5] The album was digitally remastered and reissued as a compact disc July 27, 1999 under MCA/Chess, with four additional bonus duet tracks with Harvey Fuqua: "My Heart Cries," "Spoonful," "It's a Crying Shame," and "If I Can't Have You."[2]

Critical reception[edit]

Since its release, At Last! has been praised by many music critics. Stephen Cook of Allmusic gave the album five out of five stars, and, about James, wrote, "one hears the singer at her peak in a swinging and varied program of blues, R&B, and jazz standards." Cook also praised the material that was recorded for the album, saying that At Last! had "strong material throughout." He also went on to say that James's voice, "expertly handles jazz standards like "Stormy Weather" and "A Sunday Kind of Love," as well as Willie Dixon's blues classic "I Just Want to Make Love to You." James demonstrates her keen facility on the title track in particular, as she easily moves from powerful blues shouting to more subtle, airy phrasing; her Ruth Brown-inspired, bad-girl growl only adds to the intensity."[5]

The album was also reviewed by CD Universe.com, which gave it four and a half out of five stars. Like Allmusic's response, CD Universe also praised At Last!, stating that the album's songs "highlight the singer's facility with different approaches including torchy balladry, jazz crooning, growling blues, and R&B shouting." The website continued on to say that "All I Do Could Is Cry" sounded "wrenching", while calling "Trust in Me" "romantic." [2]

Track listing[edit]

Side one[edit]

  1. "Anything to Say You're Mine" (Sonny Thompson) - 2:37
  2. "My Dearest Darling" (Eddie Bocage, Paul Gayten) - 3:05
  3. "Trust in Me" (Milton Ager, Jean Schwartz, Ned Weaver) - 3:01
  4. "A Sunday Kind of Love" (Louis Prima, Barbara Belle, Anita Leonard, Stan Rhodes) - 3:18
  5. "Tough Mary" (Lorenzo Manley) - 2:27

Side two[edit]

  1. "I Just Want to Make Love to You" (Willie Dixon) - 3:08
  2. "At Last" (Mack Gordon, Harry Warren) - 3:02
  3. "All I Could Do Was Cry" (Billy Davis, Gwen Fuqua, Berry Gordy) - 2:58
  4. "Stormy Weather" (Harold Arlen, Ted Koehler) - 3:10
  5. "Girl of My Dreams" (Sunny Clapp) - 2:25

Bonus tracks on 1999 CD reissue[edit]

All songs recorded as duets with Harvey Fuqua
  1. "My Heart Cries" (Fuqua, Etta James) - 2:36
  2. "Spoonful" (Dixon) - 2:50
  3. "It's a Crying Shame" (Fuqua, James) - 2:54
  4. "If I Can't Have You" (Fuqua, James) - 2:50

Chart positions[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ It isn't here but it in the magazine http://www.rollingstone.com/music/lists/500-greatest-albums-of-all-time-19691231/at-last-etta-james-19691231
  2. ^ a b c "Etta James: At Last! CD". cd universe. December 11, 2003. Retrieved 2009-07-24. 
  3. ^ "At Last (LP, Album) at Discogs". Discogs. Retrieved 2009-07-24. 
  4. ^ Dahl, Bill. "Etta James > Biography". allmusic. Retrieved 2009-07-24. 
  5. ^ a b Cook, Stephen. "At Last! > Overview". allmusic. Retrieved 2009-07-24.