Mission

Bibliophiliac is the space where one passionate, voracious reader reflects on books and the reading life. You will find reviews, analysis, links, and reflections on poetry and prose both in and out of the mainstream.
A book must be the axe for the frozen sea within us. Franz Kafka

Saturday, January 28, 2012

The Late, Great, Etta James

Etta James 1938-2012
The first time I heard the voice of Etta James was approximately two lifetimes ago. I had a studio in a warehouse building in Charlestown, Massachusetts, not far from Bunker Hill. I would go there in the evening and on the weekend and just immerse myself in painting-get totally lost. I always had the radio on, and in my trance-like state I usually didn't hear it. But one day I was arrested by the pain, the passion, the fierceness, of a very distinctive voice. Over the years I became something of a fanatic. As a single mom, I spent lots of hours in my vehicle, shuttling my daughters and taking long road trips between South Carolina and Maryland. We used to stack up the Etta James CDs and sing along with every song, capturing every inflection as Etta sang about heartbreak, sugar on the floor, and hearing the church bells ringing (of course, all she could do was cry). There was so much more to Etta James than that single song made famous by a car commercial and later by a movie and an inauguration ball. Today is her funeral, and I pay respects to a gutsy, brave, gorgeous woman who had been the primary voice in the soundtrack of my life.


5 comments:

Andi said...

Looove her. Love!

bibliophiliac said...

@Andi-Agree!

logo-ligi GH said...

It's really amazing how much vocalists can touch our souls as long as they sing.

Lisa said...

James' story is as amazing as her singing was - what an incredible woman!

bibliophiliac said...

@logo-logi-Etta James certainly falls into that category....
@Lisa-Her voice tells a story, and so does her life....