The Soul of New Orleans on Display in Copley Square

July 27, 2012

It was 1964 when a new version of a tune called "Time Is on My Side" — originally recorded by a jazz trombonist — was released as the B-side to a single by a young New Orleans soul singer named Irma Thomas. Within months a near note-for-note cover by the Rolling Stones would earn them their first top-10 hit in the U.S. (you can listen to the similarities yourself at the bottom of this post). The British invasion was officially on. 

In that same year, as acts from overseas like the Rolling Stones, the Beatles and the Hollies were pushing American blues and soul music to new places, a young New Orleans-based tuba player named Allan Jaffe was reaching back in the other direction with his Preservation Hall fueling a revival of the music from which so much of it sprang: New Orleans–style jazz. 

It’s a reminder of just how connected the music we listen to is. And how it's almost impossible to tell any story about rock music, soul music, pop, blues, jazz or hip-hop that doesn’t eventually lead you back to New Orleans, Louisiana. 

Those connections and the spirit of New Orleans will be shining bright on Copley Square on Friday, July 27 as WGBH and the Boston Globe's Boston Summer Arts Weekend kicks off with a free concert that includes performances by that young soul singer, now known as the “Soul Queen of New Orleans” and the man who currently leads the continuing efforts of the Preservation Hall Jazz Band.


  • Irma Thomas, "Soul Queen of New Orleans”
  • Ben Jaffe, creative director of the Preservation Hall, plays tuba in the band

Irma Thomas, "Time Is on My Side" 

The Rolling Stones, "Time Is on My Side"

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