Like her first two efforts for Rounder, True Believer is a stellar collection of contemporary soul performed in the classic '50s New Orleans tradition. The difference is in conception. True Believer focuses on heartbreak songs, and there is genuine anguish in Irma Thomas' voice, making new songs by the likes of Dan Penn, Dr. John, Tony Joe White, Allen Toussaint, and Doc Pomus sound like instant classics. Another excellent effort from a woman who has plenty to her credit.
Irma Thomas (born February 18, 1941, Ponchatoula, Louisiana, United States) is an American singer from New Orleans. She is known as the "Soul Queen of New Orleans". Thomas is a contemporary of Aretha Franklin and Etta James, but never experienced their level of commercial success. In 2007, she won the Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Blues Album for After the Rain, her first Grammy in a career spanning over 50 years.
Irma Thomas (born February 18, 1941, Ponchatoula, Louisiana) is a Grammy Award-winning soul and rhythm and blues singer from New Orleans. She is known as the "Soul Queen of New Orleans". Thomas is a contemporary of Aretha Franklin and Etta James, but never experienced their level of commercial success; still, she has a large cult following among soul aficionados. In 2007, she won the Grammy for Best Contemporary Blues Album for After the Rain, her first Grammy in an acclaimed career spanning over 45 years.
This CD presents the brief but remarkable output of songs by Duparc during his artistic period that was cut short by a nervous affliction. These works are beautifully performed by mezzo-soprano Sarah Walker and baritone Thomas Allen, with sensitive piano accompaniment by Roger Vignoles. The collection opens with Duparc's best known melody, L'invitation au voyage, which is a setting of a text from Baudelaire's Les fleurs du mal. The lovely rolling impressionist piano harmonies are played with exquisite fluidity, as they underscore Walker's velvety and intimate vocals. The Sérénade florentine is an impressionist lullaby to a loved one, delivered with touching emotion by Thomas Allen. Extase, Elégie and Testament show the influence of Wagner, and the Chanson triste is one of Duparc's early, Gounod-style songs. Au pays oú se fait la guerre (1869) is also an early work, but is particularly entrancing with simple modal harmonies and easily perceived song construction. By sensitive use of passing tones in the piano, the harmonies are subtly redefined and the music is extended dramatically toward the end by expressive on-rushes.