Irma Thomas “Live Again” (1965, unreleased. From “Time Is On My Side: The Best of Irma Thomas, 1992)

Irma Thomas “Live Again” (1965, unreleased. From “Time Is On My Side: The Best of Irma Thomas, 1992)

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Gemini Roll Call goes behind the glass this Monday Morning and honors a twin that was one of the most prolific wordsmiths of the 1960s. In his partnership with Burt Bacharach, Hal David turned out hundreds of classic songs that sparkle with urban wit and uptown sophistication. Not unlike many other contemporary songwriters of the 1960s, his efforts are what can be considered Post WWII “standards.” However, we no longer look at chesnut songs in the same way as those songs from Tin Pan Alley. Today would have been Hal’s 94th Birthday, and it took me a while to figure out which song of his to feature.

irma-thomasOf course I strive for rarity and uniqueness. So it shouldn’t strike you as a surprise that I went with a never used Irma Thomas track from her Imperial years. The time was 1965 and the songwriting team (although in a lot of unheralded ways) were one of the 3 top tunesmiths in the Pop music sphere.

So it does come as a surprise that Imperial Records chose not to go with this sprightly internal dialogue encouragement that sees a typically winsome Irma getting over an former flame. Given it’s virtually a female rendition of the concurrent “My Little Red Book” makes it even more curious that Irma’s version, or any other recording of the song didn’t see the light of day at the time.

Nevertheless, shadow Bacharach and David classics are few and far between. More often than not there’s multiple versions of just about all of their songs, so you can pick and choose among your favorites. But here, and now, is the only version of this long overlooked gem. Thank you Hal David for the countless times you got the emotional zeitgeist. Your words are still timeless.

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