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Leela James: Loving You More ... In the Spirit of Etta James 

Shanachie

This is Leela James' career best, bar none. The Los Angeles powerhouse with the raw, booming voice is reined in just enough by Grammy-winning Nashville producers Shannon Sanders and Drew Ramsey to keep a professional sheen on the updated blues that compile her tribute to Etta James. The stepper title track is already the cool glass of sweet tea in summer. Duets with Sanders on "I'd Rather Go Blind" and "At Last" reveal a Leela whose spirit is Etta James but whose instrument is distinctly her own. Energizing arrangements and upbeat production dominate this organically performed studio recording. Contemporary versions of "I Want to Ta-Ta You Baby," "Sunday Kind of Love," and "Damn Your Eyes" prove that this James is the Etta of our times. (4 out of 5 stars)

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