A Florida native, Erma Coffee may well have come from the Tampa area if the location of her first 45 is anything to go by. The slow strutting southern funk of Spiders And Snakes is very fine indeed – love the horns and the sultry almost whispering tone Erma adopts as she - apparently - relates a childhood teasing tale, but there may well be other meanings you could attach to the lyric! The flip is taken at a slower pace, and allows Erma to show what an emotive vocalist she was. Her sense of dynamics is especially impressive on the melodic hook. Pity the horn players took a break for the cut. Her only other 45 is a Hi classic, certainly a better version of Any Way The Wind Blows than Syl Johnson’s, and the comparison is quite easy to make as Willie Mitchell used the same rhythm track. The deep ballad “You Made Me What I Am” on the other side completes a 45 to treasure. I just wish we had more recordings from Erma to enjoy.
Its great to report that Erma herself has written to me to say how pleased she was to read about her recordings - "Thank you so much for that great article you wrote about me, you made my day. I thought it was a blessing from heaven."
Thanks to my great friend Greg Burgess for finding the lovely picture of Erma.