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Jesse Thomas

The brother of Texas bluesman Willard "Ramblin'" Thomas, Jesse "Babyface" Thomas never had the success of his more famous sibling. Born in the hamlet of Logansport, LA, near the Texas border in 1911, Jesse Thomas and his brother were personally close growing up, often working in the fields together, and he also aspired to a music career -- the two performed together. He moved to Dallas in 1929, at a time when Blind Lemon Jefferson and Lonnie Johnson were in their heyday; Thomas made his first recordings that year, at age 18, for Victor. He cut four sides, but found little success coming from those efforts. Whether by design or a simple process of selection, he decided not to emulate his more famous brother's slide guitar-based sound, instead playing in a fingerpicking style closer to that of Blind Blake, Lonnie Johnson, or Blind Lemon Jefferson himself.

In the early '40s, Jesse Thomas relocated to Los Angeles, losing contact in the process with both his sibling and the itinerant musician's life he'd led in the previous decade. He also got to hear and play with musicians who were more influenced by jazz, and the more sophisticated varieties of blues that had taken root in the big cities. These influences soon became clear when he resumed his recording career in the late '40s in Los Angeles; he also demonstrated his songwriting prowess. He tended to write and sing about more upbeat and romantic subjects than his brother, and favored a highly rhythmic and animated style on his instrument. "Double Do Love You" recalled T-Bone Walker at his best, and anticipated the work of Chuck Berry by six or seven years. Jesse Thomas also worked well in a band setting, playing his instrument off against piano accompaniment by Lonnie Lyons and Lloyd Glenn, amongst others, and also saxmen such as Sam Williams and Conrad Johnson. He recorded for Milltone, Freedom, Modern, Swing Time, Hollywood, Specialty, and Elko between 1948 and 1958, and briefly had his own label, Club Records, at the end of the '40s.

It may have been Thomas' sheer versatility that hurt him as a recording artist, at least in terms of commercial success. Unlike his brother, who never evolved too far out of his rural life or roots, Jesse Thomas was always adding strings to his bow, so that by the late '40s he was doing what amounted to R&B rather than pure blues, as both a singer and guitarist, and altering his sound with almost every release, working in different group contexts -- all effective, but all different. He was doing what would later be defined as rock & roll years before it got that name, and was cutting perfectly fine, Chess Records-style rock & roll music in the mid-'50s. He was back in Shreveport from 1957 on, cutting sides of Hollywood Records, He kept working at least into the '70s and '80s, even founding another label, Red River. He cut his last session in 1992, at age 81, working once more in a country-blues vein and a small group setting, and showed his playing skills still intact. Thomas died in 1995 at the age of 84, after a 60-year career in music. ~ Bruce Eder, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: Burn The Boats

1. I'm Not Scared

2. Lorraine

3. Dark Horse

4. Leather Jacket

5. Swallow That Pill

6. Stolen Limousine

7. Magnetic Heart

8. Stunner

9. Beverly

10. Use Me Up

11. Mugshot

x

Track List: The Heartbreaker Sessions

1. Heartbreaker

2. On A String

3. Stay

x

Track List: War Dancer

1. Better Geography

2. You I Want

3. Sidewalk Ends

4. Brave

5. Oh My Dear

6. Back To Fighting

7. Song For You

9. Already Mine

10. Madeline

11. Whisky While I Wait

12. Heart Tied Down

x

Track List: Hazel EP

1. Say Hello

2. You I Want

3. Shine

4. Drunk

5. Blank Page

x

Track List: Jesse Thomas 1948 - 1958

1. Same Old Stuff

2. Double Due Love You

3. Zetter Blues

4. Mountain Key Blues

5. Melody In C

6. You Are My Dreams

7. I Wonder Why

8. Another Friend Like Me

9. Guess I'll Walk Alone

10. Let's Have Some Fun

11. Gonna Write You A Letter

12. Meet Me Tonight Along The Avenue

13. Tomorrow I May Be Gone

14. Texas Blues

15. I Can't Stay Here

16. Xmas Celebration

17. Now's The Time

18. It's You I'm Thinking Of

19. It's You I'm Thinking Of (Alternate Take)

20. I Am So Blue

21. Long Time

22. Cool Kind Lover

23. When You Say I Love You

24. Jack Of Diamonds

25. Another Fool Like Me

26. Gonna Move To California

27. Take Some And Leave Some

28. Blow My Baby Back Home

x

Track List: Fire (Single)

1. Fire

x

Track List: Live At Infrasonic

1. Say Hello

2. Shine

3. Fire

4. Sidewalk Ends

5. Heart Tied Down

6. Blank Page

Comments

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I just discovered her and she is amazing.
Report as inappropriate
Damn... Best voice ever <333333 cuz youuuu you are you are youuuu you are you are
Report as inappropriate
Sweet voice....... .
Report as inappropriate
gonephishing
Just found her and I am glad I did. What an amazing talent.
Report as inappropriate
Jesse Thomas is amazing! AND HOT!

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