Album Reviews

Irma Thomas – Full Time Woman: The Lost Cotillion Album (Rhino)

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Irma Thomas Full Time WomanIrma Thomas first came to the music world’s attention in the mid-1960’s with her Imperial Records release of the superb “Time is On My Side” (yes, the same song later covered by The Rolling Stones). She had a few minor releases after that but by the early 1970’s was looking to revive her short-circuited career. The renowned Jerry Wexler at Atlantic Records took on the task. The 15 tracks on this collection were recorded between 1971-1972, but only two tracks were released at the time. The brilliant title track was released as a single and, for reasons unknown, it flopped. Everything else was kept in the can until now. Though the revival failed, Ms. Thomas re-emerged in the 1980’s and went on to well-deserved recognition that lasts until this very day.

Clearly each of these tracks were recorded to be single release rather than an album per sec. They comprise a compact time capsule of the state of soul music at the time. Today, these recordings cannot help but sound dated. It is only upon a second and third listening that one realizes how stunningly great these recordings were. “Full Time Woman” should have been a Number One million-seller. Her interpretation of the classic “Time After Time” can stand with any soul recording of the era.

Ms. Thomas has come to be known as the Soul Queen of New Orleans and she is every bit as talented as that other Jerry Wexler/Atlantic Soul Queen, Aretha Franklin. Fans of the golden age of American soul music will want to add this album to their collection immediately.

– Robert Myers

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