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Album Review

As a matter of fact we are docking into past ports a bit here on this retro excursion into protofeminsit diva rock. Sing It! is a blessed event, too — and a great excuse to visit New Orleans for this "summit meeting" of major minds and throats of three of the most formidable female voices on at least three musical maps today. Other triple threat records take heed: this is exactly how its done, a perfect collaboration done with honor, grace, and deep within the southern traditions of vocal licks-trading, which makes this artifact timeproof. Tracy Nelson has that earth-mother caterwaul as she summons, and we recall, the depths of the '60s as only Tracy Nelson can remind us. Irma Thomas growls ferociously from under a streetlamp and will not let us walk on by. Her sass is matched by Marci Ball's downtown attitude and hunker-down suggestiveness. Spinetinglers to the core, each one. These tunes romp as well as they stomp and successfully mark territories among soul singers, blues artists, country strutters and just plain funky womanity, they way we love our Memphis gals (and how they can scare the crawfish out of a fella). The songs themselves sing of familiar old territories — deadbeat dads and old lovers, less than rosy rolling in the clover, releasing those Saturday night ya-yas — but the intensity of each of these hardcore principals bring a resonance to each small moment on the record. Their backup reads like a veritable roster of first-chair Memphis originals, installing that swampy-deep backwoods, diggin-it groove. This is a fine, fine record by three brilliant, completely authentic women: a gem of backwater to runneth over.


Born: 18 February 1941 in Ponchatoula, LA

Genre: R&B/Soul

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

The unrivaled Soul Queen of New Orleans -- a title officially bestowed by local officials, no less -- Irma Thomas ranks among Crescent City R&B's greatest and most enduring musical ambassadors, never enjoying the coast-to-coast commercial success of contemporaries like Aretha Franklin and Etta James but nevertheless breathing the same rarified air in the minds of many soul music aficionados. Born Irma Lee in Ponchatoula, LA, on February 18, 1941, as a teen she sang with a Baptist church choir, even...
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Sing It, Irma Thomas
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