Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Etta James: Losers Weepers [Cadet, 1971]
Kittenish one moment and cathouse the next, James offers disappointingly subtle pleasures for such a big singer--except for two ASCAP standards, the title song is the only one I'd care to hear from someone else, and not even James's foxy delight in her own moods can salvage some of them. Nor will the orchestrations--conventional in blues, soul, and big-band modes--draw anyone in. But these days only Tina Turner (who couldn't provide subtle pleasures if she wanted to) seems to get much of a kick out of the down and dirty, and James's uninhibited sense of humor and fondness for sexual combat finally jollies this album over the line. B+