Thursday, February 18, 2021

Jeudi Gras: Irma Thomas 80

I can't let Mardi Gras week pass without another Black History missive, to celebrate another milestone birthday for another icon of everything.

Look at that picture, when is it from? She's been around forever, since kinescopes were the primary means of archiving TV broadcasts, even.

Think of how many audiences she sent home happy in all these decades of pouring out her Soul.

She still records and gigs, too. A whole Gospel Soul concept now. I guess now that Little Richard has gone, someone's gotta carry the torch.

They call her the Soul Queen of New Orleans, but she's really one of the greatest living Soul Queens of the planet by now.

She had her first Top 25 R&B smash in 1959, can you believe that? She's been in the charts since before most of us were but glimmers.
Leave it to her to be born exactly a week prior to Mardi Gras Day too, which jumps around depending on when Ash Wednesday falls and in 1941 was the 25th. She probably wanted to get here a week in advance, to prepare.

When the history of Soul is written, there's gonna have to be a whole Irma Thomas -- born this day in 1941 -- chapter or six. One for each decade of her career, maybe.

She's explaining during this set from 23 years ago about how she's come down with bronchitis. You'd never know unless she told you, the way she belts this hour out.

Even more astonishing, she invites the crowd to come see her later that night, in a club. Because she's playing again, in a few hours. Bronchitis never stood a chance, did it? Too bad no one taped that one.

She's got a funky ass band lighting it up behind her too. Here, check it out.

Irma Thomas
Fair Grounds Race Course
Jazz & Heritage Festival
New Orleans, Louisiana USA

01 Chicken Shack
02 To Be Real/Irma Thomas intro
03 Love Makes a Woman
04 The Story of My Life
05 Love Don't Get Better Than This
06 Hold Me While I Cry
07 You Can Have My Husband
08 Hip Shakin' Mama
09 I Did My Part
10 Ruler of My Heart
11 Breakaway
12 It's Raining
13 I Done Got Over It incl. Iko Iko & Hey Pocky Way
14 band introductions/Simply the Best
15 Sing It

Total time: 1:02:19

Irma Thomas - vocals
Warner Williams - keyboards & vocals
Kim Phillips - keyboards
Arthur Bell - guitar
Robert Harvey - bass
Wilbert Widow - drums
Emile Hall - saxophones & vocals
Charles Earland III - saxophones & vocals
Frank Parker - trumpet & vocals
Marcia Ball - vocals on Track 15

master DAT capture from a multitrack mix provided by a mobile truck at the venue
retracked -- and volume fluctuations repaired throughout -- by EN, February 2021
344 MB FLAC/February 2021 archive link

I'll be Black Sunday with another BHM bombshell, concerning another criminally underrated superstar.

I couldn't miss out on Miss Irma, though -- she's 80 today, and still going!! -- so do get your bon temps on the Uptown rouler with this 62 minute Soul celebration from all on a Jazz & Heritage festival day gone by! Yeah you right Irma!!!--J.

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