Etta James has seen it all: in a life lived to the full, she has experienced all the ups and downs, the highs and lows, the joy, the pain and then, rejuvenation, reinvention and renewal. Perhaps unlike any one of the dozens of albums she has recorded during a distinguished career that spans five decades, ALL THE WAY could be said to capture - if just one record could possibly do so - a miniature kaleidoscope of the emotions, feelings, expressions and sentiments that this remarkable woman has experienced.
With a range of material that would render most singers helpless, the truly legendary Etta James - a three-time Grammy award winner, NARAS Lifetime Achievement, Rhythm & Blues Foundation Pioneer awardee and W.C. Handy Blues Foundation honoree, who rightfully has her own star on the Hollywood Walk Of Fame - shows that when it comes to music that speaks to the soul, she is virtually peerless. After all, who else could tackle Leonard Bernstein's classic "Somewhere" in the space of one record and then give "Holding Back The Years" the kind of world-weary workout that makes you say, "Simply who?" in a reference to the song's originator, Simply Red. It takes a whole lotta raw talent to take on such a feat but then this is Etta James, who recently underwent surgery that resulted in her shedding some 200 pounds. Etta 2006 is, in the words of one of her many classic albums, 'betta than evah,' with a new spring in her step, a new lease on life and of course a new CD that showcases her enduring talent.
Now with ALL THE WAY, chock full of contemporary classics and time-honored standards and running the gamut from R&B chestnuts to show tunes, Etta James is ready for what she calls "the next adventure! You know, now that I've lost all the weight, I can stand up on the stage again like I used to after five years of sitting down while I sang. I look out at the audiences and I say, 'how do all these young eyes who are looking at me know my music?' The range goes from 17 and 18-year olds to some of those older folks, 50 to 70 who are in there hollerin' away for me to sing one of my songs! " Looking and sounding great, Etta James is justifiably proud as she declares, "This is one of the best records I've ever made!" Amen, Etta, amen.