Beloved New Orleans singer Irma Thomas turns 81 on February 18.
The Louisiana native recorded her first single, “Don’t Mess With My Man,” in 1959. Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, Thomas recorded songs written for her by pianist Allen Toussaint and worked on all the Gulf Coast. She opened a music club, The Lion’s Den, with her husband in the 1980s.
Irma Thomas – Time Is On My Side (Jools Annual Hootenanny 2005)
Thomas received Grammy Award nominations in 1991 and 1999, and a Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Blues Album in 2007 for his album “After the Rain.” She performed in Seattle in 2010.
The 90-minute program “Irma: My Life In Music” includes an extensive interview with Thomas and commentary from several of his colleagues.
Highlights include archival performances and interview footage from decades of live shows filmed by Michael Murphy Productions at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival.
Check your local PBS station listings for “Irma: My Life In Music.” The documentary will also air on the World Channel on February 25 and 26.
Listen to Irma Thomas on KNKX’s award-winning show All Blues, hosted by John Kessler, Saturdays and Sundays from 6 p.m. to midnight.