Thursday, October 03, 2013

Soul Queen Irma kick starts my US trip

Within two hours of arriving in New Orleans today I was watching the Soul Queen of New Orleans, Irma Thomas, give a free performance with her band The Professionals in Lafayette Square. That's the wonder of the place: great things just fall into place automatically. I'm here, for the second time this year, for the Ponderosa Stomp which starts tomorrow with a series of interviews with the artists. Seeing Irma was an unexpected bonus
I've loved her voice since hearing tracks like Wish Someone Would Care and Take A Look in the sixties and have seen her dozens of times since discovering her club the Lions Den on my first visit here in 1989, at Jazzfest, on her trips to Europe and at various venues in New Orleans, and she never disappoints. Today was no exception. Her voice is as strong as ever, her personality just as engaging and she still looks great for someone who first recorded in 1959. As usual she sang a mixture of newer recordings such as Hold You To Your Promises and For The Rest Of My Life, plus a couple of rock numbers that I didn't recognise, and old favourites like her first record Don't Mess With My Man, Hip Shaking Mama,  It's Raining, Ruler Of My Heart and Breakaway. There was the obligatory Second Line sequence with audience participation and New Orleans standards like Iko Iko and Hey Pocky Way. There were sad songs and joyous ones and at one point Irma officiated as a man in the audience proposed to his girlfriend. But above all there was the sheer joy that Irma always brings when she performs. It was a great way to kick off my latest US road trip.
Nick Cobban.


At 10:54 pm , Anonymous John S said...

The jealousy starts now. sat here is blighty and it's pissing down! Glad to hear Irma was on top form as always. Cheers John


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