Irma Thomas: The Story of My Life

Irma Thomas radiates with typical warmth and sultry soul on The Story Of My Life (Rounder 2149 A; 43:48). Accompanied by a cast of pros from New Orleans and Memphis, including Meters bassist George Porter Jr., pianist David Torkanowsky, drummer Raymond Weber and guitarist Michael Toles, Irma takes her time and belts with majestic power on a program of soul-drenched ballads like “Cried Too Long” and the gospel-flavored “Hold Me While I Cry” and upbeat old school numbers like “Love Don’t Get No Better Than This.” She tip-toes into Whitney Houston territory on the title track, a contemporary power pop ballad no doubt intended to tap into “The Greatest Love Of All” audience but returns to home turf on “No Use Talkin'” and “I Won’t Cry For You,” sliding in and out of the insinuating second line groove with a sly, knowing assuredness. And the queen digs for roots on the show-stopping closer, Aretha Franklin’s toe-curling blues showcase, “Dr. Feelgood.” All hail the queen.