I just read that Etta James' funeral will be held today. IMHO, she was the greatest female vocalist of all-time. Having attended five of her concerts, I can say I thought each subsequent performance was the best I'd ever seen.
In my lifetime, I've had the pleasure of seeing live performances by Tina Turner, Patti Labelle, and Aretha Franklin. My music colletction consists of many other female vocalists, namely, Dinah Washington, Maybelle Smith, Whitney Houston, Willie Mae Thorton, Patsy Cline, Billie Holiday, etc. Etta blows them all away-bar none!
Some can argue greatness on a single song basis, which may be a valid point. Patsy Clines's rendition of Crazy, Aretha Franklin's Respect, etc., are near perfection, especially when it comes to the expression of raw emotion. Nearly every one of Etta's songs is flawless in this regard. Trust in Me, Sunday Kind of Love, I'd Rather Go Blind, Out of the Rain, and the most often mentioned, At Last, are but a few that fall into the category of perfect emotional expression. My personal favorite, Something's Got a Hold on Me, is being sampled on a current hit today by an artist known as Common.
Unfortunately, too many music lovers will never get to experience a live performance by Etta James.