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Henry Thomas

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iTunes Review

One of the most distinctive stylists of the pre-war era, Henry Thomas belongs to a select group of songsters whose repertoire was derived mainly from pre-blues sources — medicine and minstrel show songs, 19th-century rags, and traditional songs of celebration and lament dating back to the antebellum era. Like his peers Papa Charlie Jackson, Funny Papa Smith, and others, Thomas’ work would influence the stylistic development of countless blues artists to come, but unlike those performers, whose sophisticated song structures often betrayed the influence of big-city jazz and Tin Pan Alley pop, Thomas’ percussive strumming style and simple one- or two-chord songs provide listeners with an unalloyed glimpse at rural black musical traditions. In the late ‘20s the Texas based Thomas cut 23 sides for Vocalion records, all of which are included on this Document release, and his recordings have never sounded better than they do here. Listeners familiar with Thomas’ work through compilations like The Anthology of American Folk Music or Yazoo Records’ Texas Worried Blues will want to pick up this collection without delay.

Customer Reviews

Flute solo

The flute solo in Bull Doze Blues is amazing! Canned Heat used it in their song "Going up to the Country" I love it!


Born: 1874 in Big Sandy, TX

Genre: Blues

Years Active: '20s

Texas songster Henry Thomas remains a relative stranger who made some great recordings, then returned to obscurity. Evidence suggests he was an itinerant street musician, a musical hobo who rode the rails across Texas and possibly to the World's Fairs in St. Louis and Chicago just before and after the turn of the century. Most agree he was the oldest African-American folk artist to produce a significant body of recordings. His projected 1874 birth date would predate Charley Patton by a good 17 years....
Full Bio
Henry Thomas, Henry Thomas
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  • $9.99
  • Genres: Blues, Music
  • Released: 2000

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