If I had Any Sense I'd Go Back Home (featuring Dr. John)
Too Much Thinking (featuring Jon Cleary)
Early in the Morning (featuring Tom McDermott)
What Can I Do (featuring David Torkanowsky)
Underground Stream (featuring David Egan)
Thinking About You (featuring Norah Jones)
Be You (featuring Dr. John)
This Bitter Earth (featuring Ellis Marsalis)
Cold Rain (featuring David Torkanowsky)
Somebody Told You (featuring John Medeski)
Overrated (featuring Davell Crawford)
Same Old Blues (featuring Marcia Ball)
I Think It's Going to Rain Today (featuring Randy Newman)
There has always been a piano at the heart of Irma Thomas's music, and she is accompanied here by twelve of the best pianists around. The Grammy®-winning Soul Queen of New Orleans has never sounded better than in this all-... more »acoustic setting. From the soul-searing passion of "Cold Rain" to the bittersweet intimacy of "This Bitter Earth," Irma's enduring warmth and soulfulness prevail, never straying far from the blues. Included are many new songs (including one from Burt Bacharach and Steve Krikorian) and a previously unrecorded Doc Pomus-Dr. John composition.« less
There has always been a piano at the heart of Irma Thomas's music, and she is accompanied here by twelve of the best pianists around. The Grammy®-winning Soul Queen of New Orleans has never sounded better than in this all-acoustic setting. From the soul-searing passion of "Cold Rain" to the bittersweet intimacy of "This Bitter Earth," Irma's enduring warmth and soulfulness prevail, never straying far from the blues. Included are many new songs (including one from Burt Bacharach and Steve Krikorian) and a previously unrecorded Doc Pomus-Dr. John composition.
The Soul Queen of New Orleans delivers another Grammy winner
James Harrison | Melbourne, Australia | 09/09/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Since the early 1960's Irma Thomas has been creating great music. Her early hit Time Is On My Side was covered by the Rolling Stones who were early admirers of her soulfull voice.
Her last CD won her a Grammy and I believe this is an even a better record.
As the liner notes explain, the concept behind this album is to bring Thomas together with a group of soulmate pianists. Whilst I am usually dissapointed in "with friends" type records this is not in that vein.
Guests take a back seat with some great instrumentation, mainly accoustic, and occasioanl or backing vocal only, Irma's wonderfull voice is allowed to shine.
Guest pianists include Henry Butler, Dr John, Jon Cleary,Norah Jones, Ellis Marsalis,John Medeski,Marcia Ball and Randy Newman. You will note a heavy New Orleans influence here and it is fantastic as is the production of Scott Billington.
There are 14 tracks including a previously unreleased Doc Pomus/Dr John track other writers are Norah Jones, Jon Cleary, Clyde Otis, Burt Bacharach, Allan Toussaint, John Fogerty and Randy Newman whose beautiful "I Think It's Going To Rain Today" closes the CD."
New direction for the 'Soul Queen of New Orleans'
M. Tarr | Albany, NY | 09/04/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"A different direction for an Irma Thomas recording. All tracks are either her voice w/ a solo piano or in some cases, piano w/ bass & drums. The result is to truly focus on Irma's magnificent voice & her interaction w/ the various pianists. In most cases, the idea works wonderfully, although in a couple of instances, I'd have liked to hear some fuller accompaniment. The CD definitely makes me want to hear her live again, this time in a small club setting w/ just a pianist and/or trio behind her."
A real head-turner
Old Norseman | Highland Park, NJ United States | 09/01/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is the record that will make you listen to Irma Thomas with new ears. The formula -- Irma plus a succession of pianists in an all-acoustic setting -- sounds gimmicky, but it puts the spotlight on her singing and interpretive skills, and the lady bats these songs right out of the park. For me the standout is her haunting version of Randy Newman's "I Think It's Going to Rain Today" (with Newman himself on the keys) but there are plenty of other gems to explore."
Sweet Sweet Water
Lee Armstrong | Winterville, NC United States | 10/20/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Irma Thomas cast a musical spotlight for me this summer when one of her tracks, "The Same Love That Made Me Laugh," from I Believe to My Soul floated at the top of my personal top ten and wouldn't come down. I needed to listen to more. How amazed I am at the sensational "Simply Grand"! The opening track penned by John Fogerty of Creedence Clearwater Revival fame was on his CD Revival. Irma's gospel treatment is delightful. Dr. John joins her on piano on "If I Had Any Sense I'd Go Back Home" with Irma's bluey vocals. "Too Much Thinking" tries to put on a smile despite a life beset with constant challenges, "I'm never ready when my rent comes due, I just go hungry when my money's through, I keep quiet when the bill collector calls, Most times those things don't worry me at all." Nilsson recorded "Early in the Morning" on the classic record Nilsson Schmilsson. Irma's take on the track aches with a straightforward blues piano by Tom McDermott. Burt Bacharach's "What Can I Do" packs a large emotional wallop, "What can I do to make you happy? What can I do to make you love me again?" "Underground Stream" is one of my favorites with its upbeat lyric, "Sweet sweet water; Gifted sons & daughters, blessed like the flowers that drink from an underground stream." Norah Jones plays piano on Irma's recording of "Thinking About You" that Norah recorded on Not Too Late. Dinah Washington's recording of "This Bitter Earth" plays in my head despite such classic singers as Aretha Franklin, Etta James & Gladys Knight having recorded it. Irma's version is amazing, "This bitter earth, it can be so cold; Today you're young, too soon you're old." The CD concludes with Randy Newman joining Irma on the powerful "I Think It's Going to Rain Today." "Simply Grand" is just as the title describes. This is a set of classic interpretations that boast impeccable song selections and great pianists. Bravo!"