Various Artists

New Orleans Ladies: Rhythm & Blues from the Vaults Of Ric And Ron

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With the exception of Irma Thomas, this anthology covers female vocalists whose contributions to New Orleans R&B were overlooked or devalued. Both Martha Nelson and Leona Buckles were excellent, uptempo, dance-oriented vocalists who had no trouble maintaining their vocal authority and clout over driving arrangements, and could also handle steamy ballads or confessional material. Buckles' "I'm Waiting (To Give You My Love)" and "Baby We're Through" were exuberantly sung. The Thomas tracks include her outstanding "Don't Mess with My Man" and three other lesser-known early-'60s numbers that weren't smashes, but displayed the majestic voice and dramatic delivery that ultimately became a dominant part of New Orleans soul. These aren't throwaway numbers, despite their obscurity.

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