Chip Deffaa
March 11, 1994 AT 05:00 AM EST

Mystery Lady

type
Music
Current Status
In Season
performer
Etta James
Producers
Private Music
genre
Jazz

We gave it a B+

Recording an album that primarily features songs Billie Holiday originated — as former rhythm & blues star Etta James has done here — takes guts because no one can match Holiday’s depth of feeling and sense of style. But the 56-year-old James establishes a far more credible claim to such material than others, such as Diana Ross, have in recent years. Like Holiday, James suffered from an addiction to heroin, and she seems to have a quiet understanding of what Lady Day experienced. Mystery Lady is by far the subtlest record James has ever made. B+

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