Why settle for one great female vocalist when you can get three, especially when they're stylish soul diva Irma Thomas
, Tracy "Mother Earth" Nelson
, and swamp rocker (and roller) Marcia Ball
. The talented trio take the Sing It!
title seriously, belting all hues of blues with satisfying sass and sincerity. Backed by a fine and funky band of Memphis-soul stalwarts and New Orleans session stars, the ladies shine both individually and as a team. Thomas, the longtime "Soul Queen of New Orleans," struts her stuff on the Bobby "Blue" Bland
classic "Yield Not to Temptation," while Ball puts some patented bayou boogie, powered by her slinky piano lines, into her spotlight songs. Nelson repeatedly stops the show with her enormous, wraparound voice, transforming tunes like "In Tears" from simple country-flavored ballads into cathartic emotional experiences. But it's the combined voices that makes the session so special, and the title track, a soulfully scintillating second-line anthem, is the most enjoyable example of the vocal virtuosity of these women. It's a quintessential New Orleans celebration of singing, well worth the purchase price by itself, and it, like the entire album, also serves as an excellent sampler of the multiple talents of the superb song stylists involved. --Michael Point