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

Bill Dahl dahlbill@aol.com
Sat May 17 13:54:14 EDT 2014


Specialty Records never tried to make Little Richard sound like Nat Cole, nor did any other label (he would have been incapable of it). His historic first 1955 sessions in New Orleans for Specialty had already included the blistering rocker "Kansas City" and some terrific blues ballads (think Roy Brown or Billy Wright, not Nat) prior to Richard and Bumps Blackwell heading out for a bite to eat, where Richard commandeered the piano and performed the then-raunchy "Tutti Frutti." Since Bumps hadn't heard him do the song before, it certainly wasn't his fault it wasn't on the schedule that day, but it sure was when they got back to Cosimo's. Perhaps you're thinking of Ray Charles, who cut a slew of ballads in a very Cole/Charles Brown bag until he found his own rougher, more gospel-influenced style--but that was his own preference, not that of a producer.

I'm quite pleased Real Gone has unearthed these priceless Irma Thomas tapes. They may be uneven, but I'm sure I'll enjoy them a whole lot more than her recent MOR-slanted stuff for Rounder. I'll be reviewing the Thomas CD in my next Blues Music Magazine reissue column!
 
Bill Dahl
dahlbill@aol.com

 
 
-----Original Message-----
From: Jef Jaisun <jef@jaisunphoto.com>
To: Blues_L <Blues_L@listserv.nethelps.com>; BLUES-L <Blues_L@listserv.nethelps.com>
Sent: Sat, May 17, 2014 12:37 pm
Subject: Re: [BluesList] Irma Thomas has mixed feelings about the rediscovery of her 1970s-era 'Lost Cotillion Album'


 "Full Time Woman" was originally written and recorded byblues singer Alice Stuart, who is still performing and touring.www.alicestuart.com The song was released on her Fantasy Recordsalbum in 1970, and remains in her set list. It's been covered by a numberof artists besides Irma, one of them being Grootna, the group produced byJefferson Airplane's Marty Balin in 1972 for Columbia. Somewhere I mightstill 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. Maybeit was that failure that helped him do a better job later on, withartists like Anita Baker, Norah Jones and Roberta Flack. 

It always bothers me to hear of bonehead recording moguls trying tochange the style of inherently great artists to match someone alreadyfamous. How many flopped folksingers have been touted as "the nextBob Dylan?" Specialty Records tried to get Little Richard to soundlike Nat Cole, til one night producer Bumps Blackwell heard the realRichard 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 gotthat one right when he signed her to Atlantic. In 1970, a blues singerfriend of mine was told by another top clown at Columbia that he neededto "sound more like James Taylor." Say what? Kind of brings upthe retro-rhetorical question: "So what was your first clue therecording industry was on coke?"

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

JJ



At 05:29 AM 5/17/2014, Jimmy Jacobs wrote:

I listened to some of thisduring my last visit to NOLA and passed on buying it.  

http://www.nola.com/music/index.ssf/2014/05/irma_thomas_has_mixed_feelings.html#cmpid=nwsltrhead
 
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