|Studio album by|
|Released||November 15, 1960|
|Recorded||January – October 1960|
|Genre||Blues, R&B, traditional pop, soul blues|
|Label||Argo (original) |
|Producer||Phil Chess |
|Etta James chronology|
|Singles from At Last!|
|Encyclopedia of Popular Music|||
At Last! is the debut studio album by American blues and soul artist Etta James. Released on Argo Records in November 1960 the album was produced by Phil and Leonard Chess. At Last! also rose to no. 12 upon the Billboard Top Catalog Albums chart.
The original release of At Last! was issued as a 12-inch LP consisting of ten tracks, five songs on each side of the LP. Phil and Leonard Chess believed that James's voice had crossover pop potential, so with this debut album, they backed her with orchestral arrangements on many of the tracks. At Last! eventually spawned four singles being "All I Could Do Was Cry", "Trust in Me", "At Last", and "My Dearest Darling". The album also included covers of pop and jazz standards, such as "Stormy Weather", "A Sunday Kind of Love", and "I Just Want to Make Love to You". In 1987, the album was released for the first time by MCA/Chess, and then digitally remastered and reissued on compact disc in 1999 with four bonus duet tracks performed with Harvey Fuqua: "My Heart Cries," "Spoonful," "It's a Crying Shame," and "If I Can't Have You."
The album's title track has been covered by artistes such as Stevie Wonder, Beyoncé, Joni Mitchell, Leela James, Cyndi Lauper, Randy Crawford, Celine Dion, Connie Wilson and Christina Aguilera. "All I Could Do Was Cry" was covered by both Beyoncé and Gladys Knight & The Pips.
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."
The writer for Rolling Stone exclaimed, "James bloomed into a fiery interpreter on this spellbinding LP."
At Last! rose to no. 12 upon the Billboard Top Catalog Albums chart. Of the album's singles, "At Last," "All I Could Do Was Cry," "Trust in Me," and "My Dearest Darling" rose to nos. 2, 2, 4 & 5 upon the Billboard Hot R&B Songs chart respectively. As a single, "At Last" was also certified gold by the RIAA.
- "Anything to Say You're Mine" (Sonny Thompson) – 2:37
- "My Dearest Darling" (Edwin "Eddie Bo" Bocage, Paul Gayten) – 3:05
- "Trust in Me" (Milton Ager, Jean Schwartz, Ned Wever) – 3:01
- "A Sunday Kind of Love" (Louis Prima, Barbara Belle, Anita Leonard, Stan Rhodes) – 3:18
- "Tough Mary" (Etta James, Joe Josea) – 2:27
- "I Just Want to Make Love to You" (Willie Dixon) – 3:08
- "At Last" (Mack Gordon, Harry Warren) – 3:02
- "All I Could Do Was Cry" (Billy Davis, Gwen Fuqua, Berry Gordy) – 2:58
- "Stormy Weather" (Harold Arlen, Ted Koehler) – 3:10
- "Girl of My Dreams" (Charles "Sunny" Clapp) – 2:25
Bonus tracks on 1999 CD reissue
All songs recorded as duets with Harvey Fuqua
- "My Heart Cries" (Fuqua, Etta James) – 2:36
- "Spoonful" (Dixon) – 2:50
- "It's a Crying Shame" (Fuqua, James) – 2:54
- "If I Can't Have You" (Fuqua, James) – 2:50
- Etta James – vocals
- Harvey Fuqua – vocals
- Leonard Chess – producer
- Phil Chess – producer
- Riley Hampton – arranger, conductor
- Don Kamerer – liner notes
- Cook, Stephen. "At Last! > Overview". AllMusic. Retrieved 2009-07-24.
- Petrusich, Amanda (April 24, 2016). "Etta James: At Last! Album Review". Pitchfork. Retrieved April 25, 2016.
- "Etta James: At Last". RollingStone.com.
- Larkin, Colin (2007). Encyclopedia of Popular Music (4th ed.). Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0195313734.
- "Etta James: At Last". Billboard.com.
- "The 200 Best Albums of the 1960s". pitchfork.com. Retrieved 2017-08-22.
- Dahl, Bill. "Etta James > Biography". AllMusic. Retrieved 2009-07-24.
- "Etta James: At Last". Whosampled.com.
- "Etta James: Hot R&B Songs". Billboard.com.
- "Etta James: RIAA Certification". RIAA.com.
- "Etta James: Hot 100". Billboard.com.