[BluesList] Irma Thomas has mixed feelings about the rediscovery of her 1970s-era 'Lost Cotillion Album'

Jef Jaisun jef@jaisunphoto.com
Sat May 17 13:37:14 EDT 2014

  "Full Time Woman" was originally written and 
recorded by blues singer Alice Stuart, who is 
still performing and touring. www.alicestuart.com 
The song was released on her Fantasy Records 
album in 1970, and remains in her set list. It's 
been covered by a number of artists besides Irma, 
one of them being Grootna, the group produced by 
Jefferson Airplane's Marty Balin in 1972 for 
Columbia. Somewhere I might still have the rare single of that release.

Arif Mardin produced a huge number of successful 
female balladeers. Unfortunately for Irma, one of 
them was Diana Ross. Also unfortunately, when it 
came to Irma, Mardin couldn't see the forest for 
the trees. Maybe it was that failure that helped 
him do a better job later on, with artists like 
Anita Baker, Norah Jones and Roberta Flack.

It always bothers me to hear of bonehead 
recording moguls trying to change the style of 
inherently great artists to match someone already 
famous. How many flopped folksingers have been 
touted as "the next Bob Dylan?" Specialty Records 
tried to get Little Richard to sound like Nat 
Cole, til one night producer Bumps Blackwell 
heard the real Richard on stage. Columbia had no 
clue what to do with Aretha early on, and those 
LPs made her sound like a lounge singer. At least 
Wexler got that one right when he signed her to 
Atlantic. In 1970, a blues singer friend of mine 
was told by another top clown at Columbia that he 
needed to "sound more like James Taylor." Say 
what? Kind of brings up the retro-rhetorical 
question: "So what was your first clue the recording industry was on coke?"

Forty years later Irma still rules. Anyone who's 
see her perform can tell you that.


At 05:29 AM 5/17/2014, Jimmy Jacobs wrote:
>I listened to some of this during my last visit 
>to NOLA and passed on buying it.Â
>-- Shared using Google Toolbar
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