*** Etta James, "Matriarch of the Blues," Private Music. With salacious good humor and genuine emotion, the virtually indestructible R&B singer makes this collection of classics a testament to her own durability, as well as that of the material. Supported by her band's adept soul, funk and blues flavorings, the 62-year-old icon freshens up even such well-worn numbers as "Try a Little Tenderness." Yet more satisfying are her takes on such rock tunes as the Stones' "Miss You," which simmers with confessional desperation, and Dylan's "Gotta Serve Somebody."
Albums are rated on a scale of one star (poor), two stars (fair), three stars (good) and four stars (excellent). The albums are already released unless otherwise noted.