Three years after the death of ‘the matriarch of R&B’ Etta James, long time friend of the singer Brian Ray (Bayonets frontman and Paul McCartney touring guitarist) has opened up about the death of his musical mentor.
Having worked, toured and recorded with Etta since his late teens, Brian Ray amassed a lifetime of memories and formed a lasting relationship with the singing legend.
He credits her for being his helping-hand into the world of music, and is eternally grateful for the impact she had upon him, having gone on to work with artists including Smokey Robinson, Rita Coolidge, French superstar Johnny Hallyday and most recently Wings legend Sir Paul McCartney.
So strong was the relationship between Etta and Brian that when Brian came to record his debut solo album Mondo Magneto (released in 2006), he approached Etta about duetting with him on bluesy rocker Soft Machine. Her answer was a simple and immediate one: “I’ll do anything for Brian.”
Brian yesterday took to social media remember the star:
3 Years ago today, we said goodbye to Etta James, one of the most brave, talented and honest artists this world has ever known. I owe my sensibilities as a musician and as a man to her because my formative years were spent in her band as musical director and guitarist from ages 19-33 and onward.
We were thick as thieves, best of friends. She taught me how to dig deep and take challenges because she herself was so brave. I will continue to get a chill every time At Last and every other song she nailed comes on the radio or TV. She gave everything every time.
I Love you, Etta James.
My thoughts are with Sametto James and Donto today, her two lovely and talented sons and their families.