Best known for his hit "Bahama Mama," Jamo Thomas was one of the few Bahamian artists to achieve significant -- if fleeting -- recognition in America during the 1960s. He came to Chicago during the early '60s and cut his first single, "Stop the Baby," for the Conlo label, produced by Jerry Butler.
He moved to the Sound Stage 7 label in 1965, which led to the recording of "Bahama Mama" in Memphis, which became a hit. In 1966, he met Eddie Thomas, Butler's former driver and now an executive with ABC-Paramount, who was starting to cut records for his own Thomas label (a de facto companion label to Curtis Mayfield's Windy C and Mayfield imprints), and recorded Thomas doing a version of Luther Ingram's "I Spy (For the FBI)," a smooth and rousing piece of soul music that became an international hit. Thomas later recorded for Chess and Decca before moving to Philadelphia, where he recorded for the Perception label, including "Shake What You Brought With You" and "You Just Ain't Ready."
Thomas later recorded for the MCA and Nassau labels. He stopped recording his own material after 1976, but in 1979, he provided the introduction to "Scream" by Larry Graham and Graham Central Station on the Star Walk album (Warner Bros.). Thomas re-emerged in the 1980s as an arranger on a gospel recording by Ella Washington. He also turned up on a Chess/P-Vine LP called The Real Chicago Blues Today: 60's Style. A video clip of Thomas performing appears on the third volume of Northern Soul Videos, in conjunction with the Poppies, Otis Redding, Willie Mitchell, Esther Phillips, and Cleo Randle. ~ Bruce Eder