Simply Grand

( 1 )

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - J. Poet
After a lifetime in the business, the Soul Queen of New Orleans finally won a Best Contemporary Blues Grammy in 2006 for After the Rain. As everyone knows, there's a lot more to Thomas than the blues. She's a powerful R&B belter, simmering soul singer, and all round entertainer as comfortable with a standard like "Stormy Weather" as she is with a new tune like Dr. John's "Be You." True to its punny title, Simply Grand features Thomas in the company of 13 piano players laying down accompaniment on the acoustic grand. The tunes are old and new, borrowed and blue, but Thomas makes them all her own. The most powerful tracks here showcase Thomas and a solo pianist, bringing the ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - J. Poet
After a lifetime in the business, the Soul Queen of New Orleans finally won a Best Contemporary Blues Grammy in 2006 for After the Rain. As everyone knows, there's a lot more to Thomas than the blues. She's a powerful R&B belter, simmering soul singer, and all round entertainer as comfortable with a standard like "Stormy Weather" as she is with a new tune like Dr. John's "Be You." True to its punny title, Simply Grand features Thomas in the company of 13 piano players laying down accompaniment on the acoustic grand. The tunes are old and new, borrowed and blue, but Thomas makes them all her own. The most powerful tracks here showcase Thomas and a solo pianist, bringing the feel of a smoky late-night bar on the end of lonely street to life. "Be You" features Dr. John, who played piano on the very first Thomas recording session, 1959's "You Can Have My Husband But Don't Mess with My Man." Rebennack's piano on "Be You" is dramatic and funky, halfway between a Mardi Gras romp and a Sunday morning sermon. Written by Rebennack and Doc Pomus, it's a simple, soulful love song with a playful vocal by Thomas . On the Louis Jordan standard "If I Had Any Sense I'd Go Back Home" Mac and Thomas get down and dirty, with Thomas delivering a casual vocal that plays around with the beat, while Rebennack backs her with clusters of rippling arpeggios. "Somebody Told You," a sassy Allen Toussaint R&B number Thomas recorded back in 1962, gets a reprise in the same key as the original with John Medeski rolling out some stomping New Orleans fonk on his solo while Thomas testifies with her usual soulful intensity. Marcia Ball chose the Leon Russell tune "Same Old Blues" for the session and gives it a gospel twist that lets Thomas flex her moaning lower resister. Randy Newman supplies keys and his own "Think It's Going to Rain Today" to close the album. Thomas makes a bleak lyric even more forlorn with an understated sighing vocal that's downright heartbreaking. But the album also has it's sassy, uptempo moments. John Fogerty's "River Is Waiting" also has a celebratory churchy ambience with great backing vocals, Henry Butler's sanctified piano, and Thomas' testifying lifting the tune to heaven. "Early in the Morning," another Louis Jordan tune, a tongue in cheek tale of a woman looking for solace after being up all night, gets a humorous read from Thomas and pianist Tom McDermott. "Underground Stream" is a pop tune from pianist David Egan that combines R&B and gospel with a classic '40s pop feel. The chorus is instantly memorable, and if there was any justice in the world it'd be the monster hit Thomas deserves.
The Independent
It is grand – dignified swinging, simple and soulful music, strengthened with gospel girders and audibly laced with wisdom born of experience.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 8/12/2008
  • Label: Rounder / Umgd
  • UPC: 011661220225
  • Catalog Number: 612202
  • Sales rank: 72,951

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 River Is Waiting - Henry Butler (4:04)
  2. 2 If I Had Any Sense I'd Go Back Home (3:29)
  3. 3 Too Much Thinking - Jon Cleary (3:18)
  4. 4 Early in the Morning - Tom McDermott (3:30)
  5. 5 What Can I Do - David Torkanowsky (4:00)
  6. 6 Underground Stream - David Egan (3:50)
  7. 7 Thinking About You - Norah Jones (3:21)
  8. 8 Be You (5:02)
  9. 9 This Bitter Earth - Ellis Marsalis (4:44)
  10. 10 Cold Rain - David Torkanowsky (4:46)
  11. 11 Somebody Told You - John Medeski (3:17)
  12. 12 Overrated - Davell Crawford (4:47)
  13. 13 Same Old Blues (4:47)
  14. 14 I Think It's Going to Rain Today (3:00)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
Irma Thomas Primary Artist, Vocals
Marcia Ball Piano, Accompaniment, Guest Appearance
Dr. John Piano, Accompaniment, Guest Appearance
Randy Newman Piano, Accompaniment, Guest Appearance
Henry Butler Piano, Accompaniment, Guest Appearance
Ellis Marsalis Piano, Accompaniment, Guest Appearance
David Torkanowsky Piano, Accompaniment, Guest Appearance
Jon Cleary Percussion, Piano, Background Vocals, Accompaniment, Guest Appearance
Charles Elam III Background Vocals
Elaine Foster Background Vocals
Jason Marsalis Drums
Tom McDermott Guest Appearance
John Medeski Piano, Accompaniment, Guest Appearance
Alfred "Uganda" Roberts Conga, Tambourine
James Singleton Bass
Davell Crawford Piano, Background Vocals, Accompaniment, Guest Appearance
Erica Falls Background Vocals
Michael Skinkus Bongos, Conga
Raymond Weber Drums
Tom McDermott & His Jazz Hellions Piano, Accompaniment
David Egan Piano, Background Vocals, Accompaniment, Guest Appearance
Steven "Steven J." Jordan Drums
Norah Jones Piano, Accompaniment, Guest Appearance
Earl Smith Background Vocals
Peter Harris Bass
Tim Luntzel Bass
Kristen Miller Cello
Patricia Doucette Viola
Hannah Thiem Violin
Technical Credits
John Fogerty Composer
Randy Newman Composer
Burt Bacharach Composer
Don Nix Composer
Scott Billington Producer, Liner Notes
Jon Cleary Composer
David Farrell Engineer
Steve Krikorian Composer
Clyde Otis Composer
Doc Pomus Composer
Mac Rebennack Composer
David Egan Composer
Ilhan Ersahin Composer
Naomi Neville Composer
David Boucher Engineer
Rose Marie McCoy Composer
Norah Jones Composer
Adam Ayan Mastering
Leo Hickman Composer
Morgan Stratton Engineer
Chris Allen Engineer
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 1 )
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Irma Thomas just keeps getting better and better

    Most of the lyrics are great,the musicians add different rythum to everysong. It is a great cd and no one has more soul than Irma Thomas. She is a natural.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews