Irma Thomas - Walk Around Heaven: New Orleans Gospel Soul

Wednesday 1st June 1994
Irma Thomas - Walk Around Heaven: New Orleans Gospel Soul

STYLE: Gospel
RATING 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9
LABEL: Rounder 2128

Reviewed by Tony May

If you're a serious follower of 60s R&B you'll know Irma. She cut the original of the Stones' "Time Is On My Side" and a dozen other soul classics. Now she's 'gone gospel' and what a joy this is - probably the best of its kind since Mahalia Jackson soared to Heaven with those massive outpourings of controlled emotion. Irma is a member of the historic First African Baptist Church Of New Orleans, where most Sundays find her in the church choir. All of her experience and expertise have been brought to this her first gospel album. There are definitive versions of standards such as "No, Not One", and "Just A Little While To Stay Here", Bessie Griffin's gem "Careful Hands", the Christmas song "O Holy Night", and some newer material. The restrained careful backing allows the voice to do its devastating work. As though anything could stop it! Destined to be a classic album.

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