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Irma Thomas ~ Appreciation Thread

Discussion in 'Blues & Jazz' started by Flower, Jan 27, 2010.

  1. Flower

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    Irma Thomas (b. February 18, 1941, Ponchatoula, Louisiana) is a Grammy Award winning soul and rhythm and blues singer from New Orleans. She is known as the "Soul Queen of New Orleans."

    Thomas is a contemporary of Aretha Franklin and Etta James, but never experienced their level of commercial success; still, she has a large cult following among soul aficionados. In 2007, she won the Grammy for Best Contemporary Blues Album for After the Rain, her first Grammy in an acclaimed career spanning over 45 years

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    Born Irma Lee, as a teen she sang with a Baptist church choir, auditioning for Specialty Records as a 13-year old. By the age of 19 she had been married twice and had four children. Keeping her second ex-husband's surname, she worked as a waitress in New Orleans, occasionally singing with bandleader Tommy Ridgley, who helped her land a record deal with the local Ron label. Her first single, "(You Can Have My Husband but) Don't Mess with My Man," was released in spring 1960, and reached number 22 on the Billboard R&B chart.

    She then began recording on the Minit label, working with songwriter and producer Allen Toussaint on songs including “It’s Raining” and “Ruler of my Heart”, which was later reinterpreted by Otis Redding as "Pain In My Heart". Imperial Records acquired Minit in 1963, and a string of successful releases followed. These included "I Wish Someone Would Care” (her biggest national hit), its B-side " Break-a-Way” (later covered by Tracey Ullman among others), "Anyone Who Knows What Love Is”, and "Time Is on My Side" (a song previously recorded by Kai Winding, and later by the Rolling Stones).

    Although her first four Imperial singles all charted on Billboard's pop chart, later releases were less successful, and, unlike her contemporaries Aretha Franklin, Gladys Knight and Dionne Warwick she never managed to cross over into mainstream commercial success. She recorded for Chess Records in 1967/68 with some success, the Otis Redding song "Good To Me" reaching the R&B chart. She then relocated to California, releasing records on various small labels, before returning to Louisiana, and in the early 1980s opened her own club, the Lion's Den.

    After several years’ break from recording, she was signed by Rounder Records, and in 1991 earned her first-ever Grammy nomination for Live! Simply the Best, recorded in San Francisco. She subsequently released a number of traditional gospel albums, together with more secular recordings. The album Sing It! was nominated for a Grammy in 1999.

    Thomas is still active as a performer, appearing annually at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. She reigned as Queen of the Krewe du Vieux for the 1998 New Orleans Mardi Gras season. She often headlined at her own club, which is now out of business due to the effects of Hurricane Katrina. Thomas relocated to Gonzales, Louisiana, 60 miles (97 km) from New Orleans, after Hurrican Katrina, but, according to her web site, she is now back in her home in New Orleans.

    In April 2007, Irma Thomas was honored for her contributions to Louisiana music with induction into The Louisiana Music Hall of Fame.

    In August 2009, a compilation album with three new songs titled The Soul Queen of New Orleans: 50th Anniversary Celebration was released from Rounder Records to commemorate Thomas' 50th year as a recording artist.

    Irma Thomas is the subject of the 2008 New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival poster. She was chosen as the subject before the painting was chosen for the poster. Artist Douglas Bourgeois painted the singer in 2006. His art was chosen to reflect her art.

    Noteworthy Songs

    "(You Can Have My Husband But) Don't Mess with My Man" (#22 R&B, 1960)
    "Cry On" (1961)
    "I Done Got Over It" (1962)
    "It's Raining" (1962)
    "Somebody Told You" b/w "Two Winters Long"(1962)
    "Ruler of My Heart" (1963)
    "Wish Someone Would Care" (#17 pop, 1964) b/w "Break-A-Way"
    "Anyone Who Knows What Love Is (Will Understand)" (#52 pop, 1964) b/w "Time Is on My Side"
    "Times Have Changed" (#98 pop, 1964)
    "He's My Guy" (#63 pop, 1964)
    "You Don't Miss a Good Thing" (#109 pop, 1965)
    "I'm Gonna Cry Till My Tears Run Dry" (#130 pop, 1965)
    "Take a Look" (#118 pop, 1965)
    "It's a Man's-Woman's World" (#119 pop, 1966)
    "Good to Me" (#42 R&B, 1968

    The Above is lifted from Wikipedia ..


     
  2. Flower

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    I love Irma Thomas .. I can't count all the times that I've seen her live .. She headlines the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival every year to the delight of all.

    Here are a couple of my favourite Irma Thomas tunes ...






     
  3. Flower

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  4. Foxhound

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    I saw Irma Thomas in concert at Harbourfront in Toronto last year and she put on a lively show. She prefaced her performance of "Time Is on My Side" by saying that much as she loved Mick and the boys, she wanted to to say that she did it first!

    :rock:
     
  5. Flower

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  6. Flower

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  7. Flower

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  8. Hepcat

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    A young Irma Thomas:
     

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  9. Flower

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    Irma Thomas proves she's the soul queen at New Orleans Jazz Fest

    By Molly Reid, The Times-Picayune
    May 02, 2010, 3:23PM

    Irma Thomas' afternoon set at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival presented by Shell wasn't her highest-energy performance I've seen, but it still reinforced that she truly is the soul queen of New Orleans.

    Irma Thomas performs at the Acura Stage on the final day of 2010 New Orleans Jazz Fest, Sunday, May 2.Thomas balanced her show with old hits and more recent tunes, giving a shout-out early on to the Tyler Perry movie "Why Did I Get Married Too," which features her song "In the Middle Of It All." Thomas recorded the song shortly after Hurricane Katrina, and "it took me a long time to be able to sing it without crying," she said.

    "I haven't seen the movie, but I've had people call me and say it fit the scene perfectly."

    Amplifying the natural honeyed-husky quality of her voice for the song, she made the notes feel as heavy as the character's pain. Just as easily, she then switched gears and turned sassy and carefree for "You Can Take My Husband (But Don't Mess With My Man)," then got downright naughty on "Hip-Shakin' Woman."

    Before going into her signature song, "It's Raining," which got many couples at the Acura Stage up and slow dancing, she gave a special thank-you to everyone continuing to help New Orleans rebuild.

    "I want to thank all the volunteers who are still coming to New Orleans, helping people get back into their properties," she said. "When you go back, make sure you tell people that New Orleans is still rebuilding, but we're not there yet."


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  10. Flower

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    Irma ~ Respect

     

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