Etta James had her heyday in the 1950s and early 1960’s but she never went away. Styles changed immensely but people always welcomed her back and a chance to see her in person would have been spectacular at any point in her career. She was a real powerhouse who could project great sensitivity and vulnerability.
In this video, she is nearly 60 and after BB King introduces her, she comes out and sings perhaps her greatest song, I’d Rather Go Blind.
But when New Orleans legend Doctor John comes out, magic happens. Dr. John, no spring chicken himself, comes out and the two of them take the song to another place entirely.
They sing to each other with an almost shocking intimacy, pleading with each other not to leave. It’s almost as if you walked in on a bad moment in a marriage, only with insanely good vocals.
It’s a performance like no other we’ve ever seen.