Irma Thomas

It's Raining

Song Review by

"It's Raining" did not chart nationally, but this 1962 single has come to be recognized as a New Orleans R&B/soul classic of sorts, both because it made a strong regional impact at the time, and because it's endured as a sort of perennial oldie in that area. Many early soul songs are strongly linked to the doo wop era, and "It's Raining" is no exception, particularly in the opening descending falsetto "drip-drop" harmonies, mimicking the drip-drop of both rain and tears. The doo wop influence is also heard in the strident slow midtempo R&B of the piano pattern and drum shuffle. Rain has often served as a metaphor for heartache and tears in popular song, and that's how it's used in this basic but catchy song, separated from '50s R&B by a somewhat greater melodic scope, and expertly interpreted by Thomas's plaintive vocal. Why has "It's Raining" become a standard of sorts, at least in Louisiana? Maybe it's because although it speaks to a universal sentimental human experience -- romantic heartbreak -- it does so with dignity, rather than pour on the sap. Though this bears the credit "Naomi Neville," it was in fact written by producer Allen Toussaint, who used that pseudonym for many of his early compositions. "It's Raining" reached a lot of audiences beyond Louisiana when it was used in the 1980s film Down By Law, in the scene in which an escaped convict does a slow dance with his new flame.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
No Image 1981 Charly Records
It Will Stand (The Soul of New Orleans, Vol. 2) 1987
Various Artists
Charly Records
Ruler of Hearts 1989 Charly Records
Swamp Gold, Vol. 1 1991
Various Artists
Jin 3:06
The Rock 'N' Roll Era: The New Orleans Sound 1991
Various Artists
Time Is on My Side 1996 Kent 2:10