IRMA THOMAS Wish Someone Would Care LP
It's because of powerful platters such as this that vocalist Irma Thomas would rightfully garner the crown as the undisputed Queen of New Orleans' thriving R&B scene. She established her reputation as a no-nonsense soul sister with the attitude-driven "You Can Have My Husband (But Don't Mess with My Man)," "A Good Man," and the regional hit "Look Up" prior to landing at the Crescent City powerhouse Minit Records. It was there she joined forces with the musical wunderkind Allen Toussaint who provided Thomas her next batch of notable sides, specifically "It's Raining" and "Ruler of My Heart" (aka "Pain in My Heart"). She was also among those to make the transition to the significantly larger Imperial Records after they purchased Minit in 1963. Wish Someone Would Care (1964) was the first of two long-players that Thomas released during her brief (1964 -- 1966) run on the Imperial roster. The album opens with the yearning torch balladry of the title track "Wish Someone Would Care" featuring Thomas supported by the inimitable H.B. Barnum, who tempers her remarkably versatile voice in the first of several sensitive arrangements. "I Need Your Love So Bad" is reflective of the guttural and bluesy style commonly associated with the likes of Otis Redding and James Brown. Here, Thomas definitely gives the boys a run for their money. The melody of "Without Love (There Is Nothing)" bears a striking resemblance to the "Tennessee Waltz" during the languid verses. The chorus, however, finds Thomas calling on her gospel roots to really "sell" the performance to great aplomb. Her update of Percy Mayfield's "Please Send Me Someone to Love" is a stone classic and easily takes on Odetta and Esther Phillips' respective versions with plenty of power to spare. "Time Is on My Side" -- initially relegated to a 45 rpm B-side -- found its way across the Atlantic ocean where it would take on a life of its own once the Rolling Stones covered it less than a year later. Similarly, Thomas' reading of the Jackie DeShannon co-penned "Break-A-Way" became a runaway smash throughout the bayou. And though it seemed to attract little attention elsewhere in the States, it has been remade to great effect by Tracey Ullman. Both the LP and single for Wish Someone Would Care crossed over onto the pop charts, simultaneously giving Thomas her only Top 40 single and Top 100 Album entry.