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There are a lot of songs and singers in my list of favorites. I love to listen to strong voices which can transmit power and emotions. In the last 2-3 years the artist I heard for my inspirational singing is Etta James. With her imperfections she was just perfect.
I sing a bunch of her song now in my band and among them the legendary “I’d rather go blind” is the song that fascinated me the most from the first time I heart it.
This song was written by Billy Foster (visit his side for more information about this talented piano player, educator, and composer http://www.billyfoster.com/) and its credits were shared between Etta James and Ellington Jordan.
Etta James recorded it for the first time in 1967 in her album “Tell Mama” (side B of the record, another great song though) in the studio FAME in Muscle Shoals, Alabama. At that time Nashville was the city exclusively for Country Music, Muscle Shoals at the other side was open for more genres, trying to get the title as “Music City USA” (which was given later to Nashville which finally won the battle of the title). Etta also decided to include this song in her album “Deep in the night” recorded in 1978. A great one!
“I’d rather go blind” is a fantastic song which belongs today to the classics of blues ballads. Its structure is simple, but surely not easy to play, I mean, it looks easy, but this song needs a lot of feeling if you want to make it sound “emotional”. You can’t sing it on time: the more you feel free singing it, the best it sounds. Every singer feels and sings the “own” time, and this is so fascinating. You need to “fall” on the right part of the song, this is what counts. That’s why it is so difficult to play it and sing it at the same time.
Written in the rhythm of 6/8, he original version is based on only 2 chords, A and Bm, later on some artists (for example Joe Bonamassa and Beth Hart) added an E in the last part of the bar of the Bm, giving a bluesier sound to the song, and gives more color to the song.
If you want to learn to play the song I suggest this lesson by Justin
Have fun and listen intensively to its lyrics if you want to play it “right”. The song needs to suffer a little bit, if you know what I mean… this is blues!
Here you can listen to a version with the whole band Ely & The Good Boys and a acoustic version by Carlos Saura and me, the half of the band.