Let's Roll

Etta James opens this album with "Somebody to Love," a hard-driving rocker penned by Delbert McClinton and Gary Nichols.

Etta James opens this album with "Somebody to Love," a hard-driving rocker penned by Delbert McClinton and Gary Nichols. As a tone-setter, it's the perfect choice. James rocks with conviction on this record, and she assembled a group of sidemen who ably rock, too. James fans rightfully associate their diva with the blues, but as often as not, the dozen tracks featured here come across as straight-up, hard-nosed rock'n'roll. The tunes laid down as change-of-pace tracks—"A Change Is Gonna Do Me Good," "Please, No More," "Wayward Saints of Memphis," and "On the 7th Day"—are some of the best songs on the album. While tempos and moods vary as Let's Roll unfolds, the overall excellence of this material never wanes.—PVV