Carla Thomas and Friends
Live in Memphis
“Gee Whiz,” the gorgeous ballad sung by its author, a teenaged Carla Thomas in 1961, perfectly defined a more innocent female generation and jump-started (along with whiz-kid writers Isaac Hayes and David Porter) indie label Stax Records. The “Gee Whiz” girl is a gosh-darn woman now, who can still rip it up live in front of her hometown Memphis crowd. The soul canon she belts and coos is familiar to any respectable jukebox citizen: “B-A-B-Y,” “When Something is Wrong With My Baby,” “These Arms of Mine,” “I’ll Take You There” and, of course, her signature song. She’s backed here by some of the original Stax men (Bobby Manual on guitar and Ronnie Williams on organ), plus Southern music legends Dan Penn, Spooner Oldham and Steve Potts. The horn section crackles, and her singing partner, William Brown, is a fine testifier. Thomas, daughter of Memphis royalty Rufus Thomas, is still a soul queen.