A recording of an historic concert, released for the first time! This 1940 concert was part of a celebration of the 75th anniversary of the end of slavery in the United States. Performing are the legendary Golden Gate Quartet with Josh White, singing Spirituals, Blues and Work Songs. The concert features commentary by Alan Lomax, the poet Sterling Brown, and Alain Locke, the godfather of the Harlem Renaissance. Immediately after this concert, Eleanor Roosevelt engaged White and the Golden Gate to perform at FDR’s inauguration.
Following Paul Rodgers' unsuccessful project titled Peace and Andy Fraser's ill-fated Toby, Free rebuilt themselves and released Free at Last in the summer of 1972. The band went right back to what they knew best, with Rodgers baring his blues-rock soul to Kossof's moody electric guitar. Tracks like "Sail On," "Soldier Boy," and "Travelling Man" come out on top as some of the band's most emotive material, proving that their breakup in 1971 had no real effect on their chemistry. "Little Bit of Love" was released as a single in the U.K., peaking at number 13, while the album itself broke the Top Ten there, stalling at number 69 in the U.S. The band's mixture of laid-back blues and gritty, bare-boned rock & roll is as poignant and as expressive as it was on Tons of Sobs or Fire and Water, even though Paul Kossof's problems with drugs were beginning to be more and more evident…
In many ways Etta James resembled a female Ray Charles in her unerring ability to tackle (and sometimes combine) all of the strands of American popular music, from rock & roll to R&B, blues, country, gospel, jazz, and pure pop and soul, while still maintaining a distinct feel and sound that was all her own, and she did this throughout a five-decade career that is impressive for its consistency. This 25-track set (mostly drawn from her time with Chess Records) is hardly definitive (it doesn't have classic James' tracks like "Anything to Say You're Mine," "Don't Cry Baby," "Something's Got a Hold on Me," or the girl group pop of "Two Sides (To Every Story)," for instance, or any of her late-career blues tracks), but it does do a good job of spotlighting James' range and versatility by collecting sides like her signature "At Last," the soul-pop masterpieces "Tell Mama" and "I'd Rather Go Blind," and saucy versions of Willie Dixon's "Spoonful" and Randy Newman's "You Can Leave Your Hat On," all of which offer ample proof that James was one of the best singers of her generation – in any style.
After spending a few years in limbo after scoring her first R&B hits "Dance With Me, Henry" and "Good Rocking Daddy," Etta James returned to the spotlight in 1961 with her first Chess release, At Last. James made both the R&B and pop charts with the album's title cut, "All I Could Do Was Cry," and "Trust in Me." What makes At Last a great album is not only the solid hits it contains, but also the strong variety of material throughout. James 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. James would go on to even greater success with later hits like "Tell Mama," but on At Last one hears the singer at her peak in a swinging and varied program of blues, R&B, and jazz standards.
Ubuntu Music is delighted to announce the signing of sensational soul vocalist Omar + QCBA for the release of their upcoming live album, which is being recorded at their two sold out shows at London’s Jazz Café on Friday, 29th May.