(1874-1950s?) was an American pre-World War II
and musician. He was often billed as "Ragtime Texas".
Thomas was born in Big Sandy, Texas
. He began his musical career as an itinerant songster
and recorded twenty-three sides for Vocalion Records
between 1927 and 1929. Thomas accompanied himself on guitar and on quills
, a folk instrument fabricated from cane
reeds, and would play both instruments and provide vocals for the same song. The instrument is similar in sound to the zampona
, used by musicians in Peru and Bolivia.
His springy guitar-playing, probably inspired by banjo
-picking styles, implies that he was used to performing for dances.
His legacy has been sustained by his songs which were later covered by musicians after the folk music revival
. "Fishin' Blues" was covered by Taj Mahal
and The Lovin' Spoonful
. "Bull Doze Blues" was recorded by Canned Heat
, retitled "Goin' Up The Country". Here Thomas's melody on quills was reproduced note for note by flautist Jim Horn
. "Don't Ease Me In" was covered by the Grateful Dead
on their album Go to Heaven
; and "Honey Won't You Allow Me One More Chance" was covered by Bob Dylan
(as "Honey Just Allow Me One More Chance") on The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan
. Thomas's vintage recording of "Don't Ease Me In" is included on the... Read More