Something to remember, as we enter a new year: Yesterday's history, Tomorrow is a mystery and Today is a gift, that's why it is called "the present". [Via]

Friday, January 20, 2012

Artist who played in the Prescott: Etta James & Johnny Otis

Okay, raise your hand if you know that Etta James played here in the Prescott neighborhood clubs?

Did you know Johnny Otis played here in the Prescott neighborhood clubs?
And do you know the relationship between the two? Some information and answers are below.
First let me state this post does not intend to tell the life story of either artist; there are extensive stories elsewhere.
The intention of this post is to remind folks that the Prescott neighborhood has long been an incubator for crafts persons and artist of all genres. I have been privileged to experience the pre-post office 7th street nightclubs as well as the surrounding clubs and continual diversity of the artist in the neighborhood. With the help of social media, the incubator has grown to include most of West Oakland.

Etta James:
Born Jamesetta Hawkins in Los Angeles in 1938.

Like many early soul singers, she began performing in church, before switching to R&B music, recording classic songs like “Something’s Gotta Hold On Me” and one of popular music’s most memorable ballads, “At Last.”

Etta James’ influenced a variety of musicians, including Bonnie Raitt, The Rolling Stones, Rod Stewart, Diana Ross, Janis Joplin and even Christina Aguilera. Etta’s music has been sampled by Hip-Hop artists including Common, Kanye West, and LMFAO.

In the movie Cadillac Records, Beyoncé Knowles played Etta James and sings At Last at and All I Can Do Is Cry at
When Esther’s Orbit Room opened in 1963, Etta James, Al Green and T-Bone Walker was among the performances.
Johnny Otis
Born Ioannis Alexandres Veliotes in Vallejo in 1921.
He began his musical career in 1939 as a drummer with Count Otis Matthew's West Oakland House Rockers playing in the Prescott neighborhood nightclubs. Enough said…

So what was Etta and Johnny relationship? Johnny discovered Jamesetta Hawkins singing at in a talent show at a Los Angeles nightclub with the group Creolettes and gave the singer her stage name reversing Jamesetta into Etta James.

R&B icon Etta James died today, January 20th 2012 in a Riverside, California hospital. She was 73.
Johnny Otis, the musician, bandleader, songwriter, impresario, disc jockey and talent scout who died on Tuesday, January 17th 2012 at his home in Altadena, Calif. He was 90.