The History of the Albums - n’242
Another example of one of the most beautiful Soul voices of the sixties, a pride of the south, a queen of New Orleans, I name Irma Thomas. At the perfect junction between the rhythm and blues roots of New Orleans, an underground Southern Soul with a little pop fantasy, Irma Thomas has not made history as directly as some of her peers because she never achieved the commercial success she hoped and deserved, yet she has built her own legend through a handful of singles, rare jewels and little exposed to the general public. She was known to exude a warm, bluesy voice, sometimes melancholy, sometimes sensual. She is globally part of the "pantheons of the forgotten" like important and influential personalities such as Solomon Burke or Arthur Alexander, yet there is something to thrill you, intensely. We will therefore study her prolific debut through her first and unctuous album: Wish Someone Would Care!
Born in Louisiana in 1941, Irma had a religious childhood where she was accustomed to being around the church until she became one of its voices. This is how she made her debut in gospel music. Until then nothing unusual, not even her teenage daughter, who was marked by two marriages and children, because at the time it was quite common. Gifted with a fantastic voice that has the gift of taking you on a journey, Irma began her career long before she turned 18, notably by applying for several auditions, but it wasn't until 1959 that she officially signed with Ron, a New Orleans record company. This deal would give birth to her first single and also her first hit with Don't Mess With My Man, reaching an honourable place in the Billboard charts. A touching song with a very local style. In fact, before moving towards more raw soul, Irma's early repertoire was made up of New Orleans rhythm and blues songs. Later on, despite the very good and solid testing of the content, Irma will have a hard time to experience a similar success again, whether it be with Minit Records or others.
However, everything was to change in 1964 when she signed a deal with Imperial Records. Not knowing that she hadn't been back in the charts since her first single released 5 years earlier, she managed not to make it to the R&B charts but even better in the POP charts with a series of stunning singles. Having gradually moved in a more Southern Soul direction, Irma finally found the magic formula that suited her perfectly. Among these wonders, we can of course find Time Is My Side, Wish Someone Would Care or the retrospectively known Anyone Who Knows What Love Is (Will Understand) thanks to the Black Mirror series. It's important to note that we're not talking about just any singles, we're talking about such phenomenal songs. Having so many good songs in an album, accompanied by B-sides that defend themselves well as well, you can only have a great result. Well that's the case with his debut album Wish Someone Would Care released the same year. Although it's a simple compilation, this homogenous album delivers all the essence of Irma Thomas' top level. If you're a fan, all you need is this album and an extra compilation with some of her other little ones and believe me, you'll be here for a while. Personally I am already conquered. To conclude, apart from a few exceptions and the rise of Motown Sound, there wasn't really better Soul than her in 1964.