A Time for Reflection

Etta James

Another death in the entertainment world made this an emotional week. Etta James, the sensational Blues and R & B singer died Thursday at 73 years of age. I read so much about her life, with many expressing appreciation for her musical contributions. Many loved Etta James. When anyone loses loved ones logically, we turn to our own fond memories of the deceased. As I read all the articles and statements throughout social media, I could not help thinking about my childhood growing up on the south side of Chicago. Not only did I have my jazz musician father in the house every day, but Chicago‘s south side is known worldwide as a breeding ground for blues and jazz musicians.  It is hard for me to mention Etta James and not think about Chess Records and all the music created by the great artists signed to the label.  Chuck Berry, Muddy Waters and Howlin’ Wolf were not just Chicago legends, but even now, their songs are recognized in every corner of the world. The same is true about Etta James with hit songs like “At Last” easily recognized by all generations everywhere.  I do have fond memories of all those musicians playing, creating and even living so close to me.  Muddy Waters actually had a house a little more than two blocks from where I grew up and Chess Records location, a short drive from my old residence, remains a south side historical landmark.  It is easy to understand why so many feel like they’ve lost a close friend when someone like Etta James dies. The songs, lyrics and images of the singer brings back some of those fond memories for us all. In spite of all of her documented drug problems Etta James suffered throughout her life, my mother still spoke glowingly and often about her and often could be heard singing one of her songs around the house.  For my mother and the millions of adoring fans out there reflecting upon the music of Etta James, you are recalling memories of not only Etta James singing, but also how her music affected you. Today is a time for reflection my friends… Listen to Etta James music, reminisce and celebrate a life full of music and your own memories.

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