At Last!

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At Last!
At Last - Etta James.jpg
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!
(1960)
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
SourceRating
AllMusic5/5 stars [1]
Pitchfork(9.0/10)[2]
Rolling Stone5/5 stars[3]

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.[1][4]

At Last! was ranked at #119 on Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.[3] As well it was ranked as the 62nd best album of the 1960s by Pitchfork Magazine.[5]

History[edit]

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.[6] 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".[1] On 1987 This album was release for the first time in 1987 by MCA/Chess, Inc. ℗1987 then July 27, 1999, MCA/Chess digitally remastered and reissued on the album on compact disc, 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."[1]

Covers[edit]

At Last!'s title track has been covered by artistes such as Stevie Wonder, Beyonce, Leela James, Cyndi Lauper, Randy Crawford and Celine Dion. Another album cut being All I Could Do Was Cry was covered by both Beyonce and Gladys Knight & The Pips.[7]

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."[1]

Rolling Stone also went on to exclaim that "James bloomed into a fiery interpreter on this spellbinding LP."[3]

Commercial Response[edit]

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 Me and My Dearest Darling rose to nos. 2, 2, 4 & 5 upon the Billboard Hot R&B Songs chart respectively.[4][8] As a single At Last was also certified gold by the RIAA.[9]

Track listing[edit]

Side one

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

Side two

  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" (Charles "Sunny" Clapp) – 2:25

Bonus tracks on 1999 CD reissue 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

Credits[edit]

Charts[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f Cook, Stephen. "At Last! > Overview". allmusic. Retrieved 2009-07-24. 
  2. ^ Petrusich, Amanda (April 24, 2016). "Etta James: At Last! Album Review". Pitchfork. Retrieved April 25, 2016. 
  3. ^ a b c "Etta James: At Last". Rolling Stone.com. 
  4. ^ a b c "Etta James: At Last". Billboard.com. 
  5. ^ "The 200 Best Albums of the 1960s | Pitchfork". pitchfork.com. Retrieved 2017-08-22. 
  6. ^ Dahl, Bill. "Etta James > Biography". allmusic. Retrieved 2009-07-24. 
  7. ^ "Etta James: At Last". Whosampled.com. 
  8. ^ a b "Etta James: Hot R&B Songs". Billboard.com. 
  9. ^ "Etta James: RIAA Certification". RIAA.com. 
  10. ^ "Etta James: Hot 100". Billboard.com. 
  • Larkin, ed. by Colin (2006). The Encyclopedia of Popular Music (4. ed.). Oxford [u.a.]: Oxford Univ. Press. ISBN 978-0195313734.