Irma Thomas at the Dakota
One of the headliners we'll see at the 25th annual Bayfront Blues Festival this year is the legendary Irma Thomas, the Soul Queen of New Orleans. I met Irma in 2007 at Bluesfest, and as we chatted, she told me the story of how she got started in the music business and recorded the original Time Is On My Side.

Irma Thomas was a single mother, and waitressing at one of New Orleans many restaurant/bars. Live bands were a fixture there, and as she went about her tasks, she woulld sing along to the songs the band was playing. She had a good voice, and the band would occasionally invite her on-stage to sing with them. She was great, word spread about this new singer, and soon the place was crowded to overflowing. Of course business grew by leaps and bounds, and things couldn't be better. Everyone loved her, except the owner of the establishment.

One night before her shift , the owner sternly reminded her she got paid for waitressing, not singing, and told her not to sing with the band anymore. Naturally business dropped off, and she eventually moved in a different direction. The music gods were with her, and she was encouraged by several bands to make a recording, which she did. She chose Time Is On My Side which became a local and national hit.

The Rolling Stones heard the song, and recorded it as well, in fact both versions of Time were on the charts together, at the same time! Because of the popularity of the Stones, and their record company's huge publicity machine, the Stones version received more airplay from radio stations, while Irma's version did not, and slide down the charts to oblivion.

Those of you who listen to my daily radio show, know I have promised to play the original Time Is On My Side by Irma Thomas, so here it is. There are several "live" cuts of the song, but this is the original studio recording. A more loyal Rolling Stones fan you'll never find, however the original by Irma is (in my opinion), a far better version by a long shot.

Irma Thomas will be headlining Bluesfest Saturday, August 10th at 9:15 on the main stage, and I'm sure she'll sing Time for us .It's my hope you'll come to see and hear her. Get your tickets in advance of the show at, or you can also purchase three day tickets at the Electric Fetus. Single day passes are available online only. Which ever way you choose to get there,  you'll love her, I promise! Enjoy the song.