Music

High Five

Irma Thomas’s accomplishments

Rick Olivier

A few years ago soul singer Irma Thomas celebrated her 50th anniversary as a recording artist, a milestone that has brought her numerous awards (including a Grammy) and a loyal fan base that extends well beyond her native New Orleans.

Ahead of her performance this weekend at Paulie’s New Orleans Jazz & Blues Festival, we asked Thomas to reflect on five highlights of her long and distinguished career. Except she wasn’t keen on that idea.

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“That’s difficult for me because I don’t really analyze what I do to that extent. To me, my total career has been a learning experience, and you’re always learning,” she said, rather sweetly, before considering another option.

What about five things she still wants to accomplish? Deal.

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1. “I want to finish my [memoir]. I’ve started it, but I haven’t completed it because things keep happening that I need to put in it.”

2. “I’d like to record a Christmas album. I’ve never done one of those by myself. I’ve been on other albums where they did a compilation of other singers and included something I did.”

3. “I would enjoy doing a record with Bonnie Raitt.”

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4. “I want to record another gospel album. I made one back in 1996, ‘Walk Around Heaven: New Orleans Gospel Soul,’ with a lot of older gospel songs that you don’t hear anymore.”

5. “I’d like to live to 100 and still be able to sing.”

JAMES REED

Irma Thomas headlines Paulie’s New Orleans Jazz & Blues Festival at Keystone Plaza in Worcester on Sunday, 8 p.m. Full itinerary for the festival, which runs Friday through Sunday, is at www.baevents.com. Tickets: $15-$50 (single and two-day passes) and $65 (three-day pass).

James Reed can be reached at jreed@globe.com.
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