Tuesday, January 12, 2016


Way back when I was a nipper (1964) The Rolling Stones took Little Red Rooster to number 1 in the UK chart and since then I've always liked it but never played it. In fact I never heard anyone else doing it live. Recently I decided to practice it up for possible inclusion in my musical set, and my research revealed that there are lots of versions of the song.

It was written by Willie Dixon and originally recorded by Howlin' Wolf whose version was adapted by the stones.

The version to which we are linking this review is by Etta James who surely has to be the queen of the blues and is also recognised as the matriarch of R&B.

Her version is fairly true to the original arrangement with just slight modification of the slide guitar part and a straight ahead vocal that shows the true blues quality of Etta's voice with none of the histrionic vocal gymnastics that she sometimes engaged in when performing live.

The piano that features on the Howlin' Wolf version is left out here and replaced by some tasty and tastefully blown blues harp.

The recording and production quality are of a high standard that doesn't lose the earthy quality of the blues.

This track is taken from Etta's album Blues To The Bone which features her performing a number of blues classics - many of which are also available on YouTube,

Unfortunately this video is just a photographic slide show but the classic status of the song and the sublime quality of Etta James´ voice combine to make it worthy of your time.

Review by Cass O'Neill
for CBBlues.com

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