Hey Julia,

I see Irma Thomas is performing again at Jazz Fest—makes me wonder about “Time is on My Side,” the song recorded by both her and the Rolling Stones. Which version came first. Did Allen Toussaint write it? – Thomas Fricke (Metairie)

Toussaint was a genius, and he wrote some of Thomas’ best music, but Jerry Ragovoy, a Philadelphia-based song writer (using the pseudonym “Norman Meade”), whose clientele also included Janis Joplin, wrote “Time Is On My Side.” It was recorded by Denmark-native bopper and jazz trombonist Kai Winding  and released by Verve Records in October 1963.

Thomas also recorded the song in 1963, though her original version only consisted of two repeated lyrics:  “Time is on my side,” and “You’ll come running back.” A new, fuller version was needed. In 1964, songwriter Jimmy Norman completed the lyrics to the revived version moments before Thomas recorded it in the studio.

In June of that year, the Rolling Stones recorded a version that incorporated elements of Thomas’ recording. Irma’s version was released first, but the Stones did well with theirs. The song peaked at number five on the U.S. charts, making it their first song to make the top 10 in the U.S.

By the way, according to Poydras, it is impossible for anyone to hear the song without the lyric “Time is On My Side” reverberating through their head for at least three hours. Aspirin is no help.

 

Hey Julia,

Two of my favorite Jazz Fest dishes are Crawfish Monica and cochon de lait poorboy. Those are not dishes that you usually find on menus anywhere else. What is their origin? -Redford Boudreaux (Lafayette)

Crawfish Monica was actually created because of the festival. There actually is a living, breathing person by that name. Among festival celebrities meeting her is like bumping into Elvis. 

In 1983 Peter Hilzim, a chef who heads a company called Kajun Kettle Foods, introduced a crawfish and pasta dish that he kindly named in honor of his wife, Monica Davidson. The dish, which includes crawfish tails with rotini pasta along with cream, wine, butter and seasonings, quickly gained fame at the Jazz Fest food vendor area. It became the best-selling item, competing perhaps with the cochon de lait poor boy.

Prior to the emergence of Jazz Fest, most city people had never heard of cochon de lait. (Unless they were from the Louisiana town of Mansura where an annual festival in name of the roasted suckling pig is held.) Whomever first thought of preparing this Cajun country pork preparation as a New Orleans-style poor boy combined the best of two worlds. And if you’re still hungry, there is always the boiled crawfish.