Search - Marcia Ball, Irma Thomas, Tracy Nelson :: Sing It

Sing It
Marcia Ball, Irma Thomas, Tracy Nelson
Sing It
Genres: Blues, Pop, R&B
  •  Track Listings (13) - Disc #1

Why settle for one great female vocalist when you can get three, especially when they're stylish soul diva Irma Thomas, Tracy "Mother Earth" Nelson, and swamp rocker (and roller) Marcia Ball. The talented trio take the Sin...  more »


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CD Details

All Artists: Marcia Ball, Irma Thomas, Tracy Nelson
Title: Sing It
Members Wishing: 0
Total Copies: 0
Label: Rounder / Umgd
Original Release Date: 1/1/1998
Re-Release Date: 1/13/1998
Genres: Blues, Pop, R&B
Styles: Chicago Blues, Contemporary Blues, Vocal Blues, Regional Blues, New Orleans Blues, Texas Blues, Electric Blues, Modern Blues, Piano Blues
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPC: 011661215221

Why settle for one great female vocalist when you can get three, especially when they're stylish soul diva Irma Thomas, Tracy "Mother Earth" Nelson, and swamp rocker (and roller) Marcia Ball. The talented trio take the Sing It! title seriously, belting all hues of blues with satisfying sass and sincerity. Backed by a fine and funky band of Memphis-soul stalwarts and New Orleans session stars, the ladies shine both individually and as a team. Thomas, the longtime "Soul Queen of New Orleans," struts her stuff on the Bobby "Blue" Bland classic "Yield Not to Temptation," while Ball puts some patented bayou boogie, powered by her slinky piano lines, into her spotlight songs. Nelson repeatedly stops the show with her enormous, wraparound voice, transforming tunes like "In Tears" from simple country-flavored ballads into cathartic emotional experiences. But it's the combined voices that makes the session so special, and the title track, a soulfully scintillating second-line anthem, is the most enjoyable example of the vocal virtuosity of these women. It's a quintessential New Orleans celebration of singing, well worth the purchase price by itself, and it, like the entire album, also serves as an excellent sampler of the multiple talents of the superb song stylists involved. --Michael Point

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CD Reviews

These gals are the stuff.
lane101 | Knoxville, Tennessee USA | 08/26/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I actually heard these ladies first on Austin City Limits and decided that I needed the CD. Friends take one listen to this CD and fall in love with it just as I did. They like it so much that I am eager to let them take it home. I have bought FOUR copies and sent TWO as gifts. And I don't even have a copy for my own right now. My female friends have shared with me that this CD is highly suitable for listening while taking a candle-lite bath to soak away those "man-trouble" blues and also while trying to shake the road-rage syndrome on the ride home from work (of which I agree). BUY IT. And share it with a friend."
A Singular Trio
Gregor von Kallahann | 10/13/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)

"I can understand the sentiment expressed by at least one of the previous reviewers that, despite the considerable appeal of this collaboration, the three remarkable singers behind it had all done better solo work before--and since. That's probably arguable, but I admit I'm kind of "solo oriented" myself. There's nothing quite like exploring the work of an individual performer at some depth. Of course, since I HAVE so much of the solo work by Nelson, Thomas and Ball, I don't personally feel deprived, and this collaboration is a certainly a welcome and kind of special treat. But I do appreciate that reviewer's frustration to a degree. Why is it that this one collaborative effort--good as it is--garnered these talented artists considerably more attention than almost anyof their solo projects? It even got them an all-too-rare Grammy nod back in 1999.

But shouldn't these three great singers be getting Grammy nominations left, right and center?

That's something of a rhetorical question. Such is the way of the world--or at least the way of the "biz." Joint projects like this are "event" albums by definition. And even superstars like Crosby, Stills and Nash got more attention as a group than they ever did for any of their solo works. (I'm deliberately leaving Neil Young out of that equation, cuz I'm not so sure that's true in his case.)

So ultimately, it's best to consider SING IT! on its own terms--and if you do you'll find it's is a fine (and fun) collaborative work. Each singer is offered a chance to do a bit of what she does best. Irma Thomas, for instance, delivers some of her patented good timey N'Awlins soul ("People Will Be People," "Woman on the Move) but also joins Tracy Nelson for a full-throated, powerhouse closer, "You Don't Know Nothin' About Love." As they proved on a much earlier duet ("Please Send Me Someone To Love" which had appeared on Nelson's IN THE HERE AND NOW release) they make for formidable vocal sparring partners.

Aside from that duet, Tracy Nelson--easily one of the most under-recognized talents in the business--has several other moments to shine as well. "In Tears," which she does here as a solo and was later done on tour as a duet with Irma, is a classic country soul ballad that gives Nelson ample opportunity to show her vocal prowess. Same can be said for the plaintive "Please No More," which has the added benefit of some nifty word play on the title phrase.

And of course, Marcia Ball is as saucy and sly as ever. While she doesn't have as powerful a delivery as her cohorts here, her sharp, witty phrasing, high spirits and delicious boogie piano more than compensate. Truth be told, her voice is just right for the lively, slightly bawdy tunes she offers here--as good as anything on her solo albums, for sure. Songs like "Lovemaker," in fact, have become part of her standard repertoire. Fun stuff. Of course, she can get serious to when the song demands it, as is illustrated on her duet with Tracy, "Heart to Heart." Ball is the consummate professional. And it shows.

But some of the best moments on this record are the tunes that focus on three-part harmonies, of which the title track is but one of several. These make for some special moments and is the kind of stuff you DON'T hear much of on any of the solo records. The harmonies are tight and spirited--and as natural as if they had been singing together all their lives. "MIT" (as they sometimes jokingly referred to themselves) could have been a great "girl group." Of course, these "girls" are all, in reality, mature women with all the perspective and wisdom that implies. But they still have al the chops. And the harmonies are spot-on.

A good listen, overall. And an even better intro to all three singers, uh, how you say?, "oeuvres." So to my fellow poster (the one who prefers the solo work), I'd have to say, "Listen, I'd be the first to jump down the throat of anyone who heard this and failed to pick up on any of the singers' other releases. What more proof do you possibly need that these ladies are major talent whose work should be better known?"

But unfortunaely, you can't control what other people do. Many listeners will take this in, say, "Oh, how nice," and then rush out to buy the latest Mariah instead of following up on any of these great ladies. But you know, at least some small percentage of the people who check this album out, will go on to sample the solo work. And that can only be a boon to MIT's collective careers. Heck, I've even met a few folks at various concerts who told me that they had been Marcia fans for years,say, and had only just discovered Irma and/or Tracy via this album. And vice versa.

So SING IT!'s cross-fertilization proved to be effective marketing. But it's more than that. All three singers have described it something of a career highlight, and I take them at their word. SING IT! is well worth your attention and time. And if your smart, you won't stop there but will check out the the singers' entire catalogs.

(I just have one caveat. Make sure you listen to it on a good sound system. Tracy Nelson's voice is so powerful that it actually tended to distort when I played it recently on a cheap little boombox. It's absolutely amazing what a difference good speakers can make.)"
Tracy and Irma great combo.
jimmy | FAYETTEVILLE, AR | 12/15/1999
(3 out of 5 stars)

"This was the first I have ever heard of any of these ladies. Tracy and Irma stand out and You don't know nothin'about love, is the most powerful piece on the cd. Tracy is heard all over this cd with power force and beauty. I enjoy her thoroughly and will look for some of her solo stuff in the future. She crosses between gospel and blues with authority and passion. The highlight of this cd is the last song You don't know nothin' about love Great song"