Irma Thomas | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Irma Thomas, the "Soul Queen of New Orleans," is best known as the singer who originally recorded "Time Is On My Side" (the flip side to the hit "Anyone Who Knows What Love Is [Will Understand]" on Imperial in 1964), but her legacy extends far beyond that. Quite simply, she's one of the major architects of the modern New Orleans R & B sound: her voice soars ecstatically above a tight, horn-laden backing, with equal amounts of gospel passion and bluesy intensity. She's recorded several classics including "Don't Mess With My Man"--written by the prolific Crescent City songwriter Dorothy LaBostrie--and the deeply personal "Wish Someone Would Care," penned by Thomas herself during an especially difficult period of her life in the early 60s. Bold, sassy, alternating brassy anthems with moody blue ballads and torchy introspection, Thomas is still at the top of her powers. Saturday, 8 PM, Arie Crown Theatre, McCormick Place, 2300 S. Lake Shore Dr; 791-6190, 791-7500, or 702-1919.

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