Become a member and get exclusive access to articles, live sessions and more!
Start Your Free Trial

A Soul Summit: Irma Thomas, Tracy Nelson and Marcia Ball

Irma Thomas, Marcia Ball and Tracy Nelson

It was two Jazz Fests ago down in New Orleans that R&B veterans Marcia Ball, Irma Thomas and Tracy Nelson happened to share a stage together. They all had new albums out on Rounder Record around that time and were appearing individually with their respective bands at the annual end-of-April-beginning-of-May blowout in the Crescent City. The three ladies did an afternoon in-store performance at the local Tower Records on Decatur Street in the French Quarter to promote their albums and later that evening appeared together at a benefit for radio station WWOZ. It was there at the Maple Leaf nightclub Uptown that something clicked. Marcia and Tracy had each performed a set but then the two got up on stage with New Orleans’ undisputed soul queen Irma Thomas to belt out a few impromptu Irma classics like “It’s Raining,” “Time Is On My Side” and “You Can Have My Husband But Please Don’t Mess With My Man,” all big hits from the early ’60s. Brad Paul of Rounder noted the instant chemistry and raised the possibility of a few more dates together. Irma upped the ante by suggesting, “Why not do an album together?”

And so a concept was born.

Start Your Free Trial to Continue Reading

Become a JazzTimes member to explore our complete archive of interviews, profiles, columns, and reviews written by music's best journalists and critics.
Originally Published