Irma Thomas: Time Is Still On Her Side
Last Wednesday, legendary soul singer, Irma Thomas, performed at Joe’s Pub in New York City. The 67 year-old Louisiana native is celebrating the release of her latest album, Simply Grand, which hit stores last week. The new album is packed with fourteen acoustic tracks that cover the beauty of jazz and blues. Irma emotes in songs like her rendition of the classic "This Bitter Earth", the haunting "Cold Rain", and the epic "Same Old Blues".
In case you don’t know, Thomas garnered soul fame in the Sixties with songs like "Wish Someone Would Care," "Time Is on My Side," which was made famous by The Rolling Stones and "(You Can Have My Husband) But Don’t Mess with My Man" (don’t you just love that song title?). After decades of grinding, Thomas would be known as the Soul Queen of Louisiana, picked up a Grammy for her 2007 blues album "After The Rain" and in 2007 she was inducted in the Louisiana Music Hall Of Fame.
Well, there is nothing I love more than a "my man’s trying to leave me!" torch song and Thomas delivered. Thomas knows the blues, by the time she was 19 she was married twice and had four children. Thomas ached through each song in her over 90 minute set, transfixing the audience on her world -- a woman who has lived.
Thomas mainly performed tracks from her new album like "Be You," "Early in the Morning", and "I Think It’s Gonna Rain Today". In each song, her voice didn’t even seem mildly aged, not a note was out of place.
Thomas was definitely in her element when singing a straight blues song. The crowd was in a frenzy when she roared out "Same Old Blues" as she doubled over, squeezed her eyes shut and let her vocals pour. Even the hectic waiters at Joe’s Pub had to take a moment to see Ms. Thomas take us back to the downhome, gritty blues.
Coupled with Thomas’ voice was a flawless band that included stand-up bass, drums, and several outstanding piano players, who also accompanied her on "Simply Grand". The musicians understood Thomas’ voice and legacy, guiding her through an excellent performance. Irma Thomas is a soul legend who hasn’t gotten the respect she so deserves.
Irma Thomas closed with her first single "It’s Raining," which was a treat; however, I was expecting to hear her most famous song, "Time Is On Your Side." The song would’ve fit perfectly because time is surely on this diva’s side.
"Simply Grand" is in stores now. Click here to purchase.
by Irma Thomas