Burnin' Down the House: Live at the House of Blues

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Barnes & Noble - Roberta Penn
Finally!! A live set that shows singer Etta James as she is today in performance. Recorded at the L.A. House of Blues, Burnin' Down the House features James howlin’, growlin’ and cryin’ through signature tunes like “Come to Mama,” “Something’s Got a Hold on Me,” and “At Last.” From her recordings during the disco era, James revives “All the Way Down” by giving it the Curtis Mayfield treatment. Other hits are resurrected as parts of medleys: “I Just Want to Make Love to You” drives around hairpin curves at 80 miles an hour into a gritty “Born to Be Wild.” And the combo of Al Green’s “Love and Happiness” and “Take Me to the River” segues into James’s most recent ballad ...
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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Roberta Penn
Finally!! A live set that shows singer Etta James as she is today in performance. Recorded at the L.A. House of Blues, Burnin' Down the House features James howlin’, growlin’ and cryin’ through signature tunes like “Come to Mama,” “Something’s Got a Hold on Me,” and “At Last.” From her recordings during the disco era, James revives “All the Way Down” by giving it the Curtis Mayfield treatment. Other hits are resurrected as parts of medleys: “I Just Want to Make Love to You” drives around hairpin curves at 80 miles an hour into a gritty “Born to Be Wild.” And the combo of Al Green’s “Love and Happiness” and “Take Me to the River” segues into James’s most recent ballad period for “My Funny Valentine.” The showstopper on this CD is a tune that has driven audiences wild for four decades, “I’d Rather Go Blind.” It’s an incredibly sad ballad, but James keeps it from turning maudlin with her sexually suggestive delivery. Backing James for this live date is her Roots Band which features, in addition to her sons Donto and Sametto James (on drums and bass respectively), players who have been with her for more than a decade. The result is a relaxed but vibrant Etta James recording her best album in more than a decade.
All Music Guide - Alex Henderson
Playing Burnin' Down the House right after you have listened to some of Etta James' early recordings is quite revealing. The veteran soul/blues singer was only 16 when, in 1954, she made her first recordings for Modern records; she was 63 when this excellent live album was recorded at the House of Blues in West Hollywood, CA, in December 2001 -- and it is obvious that vocally, she didn't lose anything along the way. Backed by a tight and rock-solid band, James demonstrates that her big, full voice lost none of its richness between 1954 and 2001. The Los Angeles native sounds as vital as ever, and she has no problem going that extra mile on gutsy performances of "Something's Got a Hold on Me," "I'd Rather Go Blind," "At Last," and other hits. For the most part, this is a soul concert; however, James makes a triumphant detour into electric urban blues on "I Just Want to Make Love to You" one of the many Willie Dixon gems that Muddy Waters recorded for Chess in the '50s and B.B. King's "Rock Me, Baby." The veteran singer pleasantly surprises us with some unlikely medleys; "I Just Want to Make Love to You" is successfully combined with Steppenwolf's "Born to Be Wild," and even more intriguing is her ability to unite the standard "My Funny Valentine" with two of Al Green's '70s hits "Love and Happiness" and "Take Me to the River". Some longtime fans may be disappointed to learn that she doesn't perform either "Tell Mama" or "Roll with Me, Henry," aka "The Wallflower"; regardless, Burnin' Down the House is an exciting and powerful document of James at 63.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 5/7/2002
  • Label: Rca Victor
  • UPC: 019341163329
  • Catalog Number: 11633

Album Credits

Performance Credits
Etta James & the Roots Band Primary Artist
Etta James Vocals, Indexed Contributor
Mike Finnigan Hammond Organ
Josh Sklair Guitar, Musical Direction
David Matthews Piano, Strings, Clavinet, fender rhodes, Wurlitzer, Roland Synthesizer
Luis Conte Percussion
Bobby Murray Guitar
Tom Poole Trumpet
Lee Thornburg Trombone, Trumpet, Flugelhorn
David Woodford Baritone Saxophone
Jimmy "Z" Zavala Harmonica, Tenor Saxophone
Ronnie Buttacavoli Trumpet, Flugelhorn
Donto Metto James Drums
Sametto James Bass
Technical Credits
Willie Dixon Composer
Bill Foster Composer
Tony Mills Engineer
Jay Newland Engineer
John Snyder Producer
Lee Thornburg Horn Arrangements
Lupe DeLeon Executive Producer
Kathy Yore Engineer
Chapman Baehler Cover Photo
Ellington Jordan Composer
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 3 )
Rating Distribution

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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    AS GREAT OR BETTER THAN SOME OLD FAVORITE ELLA , BILLIE , Dianh. ECT.

    Etta James is #1 when it comes to a lady singing the Blues. She does'nt just sings the Blues she lives the Blues through her songs, you can truly feel her songs. What keeps her great is the variety, she constantly strives for better. she a crowd pleaser, Her band is awesome great musicians. We love you Etta dont change.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Betta than evah!!!

    Etta James, one more time, give us a soulful set of songs recorded live at the House of Blues. She´s full of power. Her musicians are superb. Miss Peaches are the true Matriarch of the Blues,...and then some.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 26, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

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