Irma Thomas

Turn My World Around

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In the wake of 1969's devastating Hurricane Camille, New Orleans soul queen Irma Thomas abandoned the Gulf Coast in favor of the West Coast, settling in Los Angeles and largely forsaking her singing career in favor of the relative stability of retail work. Thomas finally resurfaced in 1973 with a series of little-noticed efforts on the Fungus label that teamed her with producer Jerry "Swamp Dogg" Williams and guitarist Duane Allman, and while the fruits of their collaboration represent deep soul at its most poignant and resonant, the Shanachie compilation Turn My World Around sabotages this classic material via "rebuilt" performances that supplement the original vocals, piano, and guitar with new backing tracks. No excuse is sufficient to explain away such an appalling disregard for artistic integrity, and listeners are recommended to seek out In Between Tears, which assembles the Fungus singles in their original, unadulterated form -- there they will discover heartfelt Southern soul that evokes life and love in the margins with uncommon accuracy and sympathy, galvanized by the most intensely intimate performances of Thomas' career.

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