|Also known as||Lafayette "The Thing" Thomas, L. J. Thomas|
June 13, 1928|
|Died||May 20, 1977
|Instruments||Vocals, guitar, piano|
|Associated acts||Jimmy McCracklin, Jimmy Wilson|
Thomas began his music career in 1947 after a move to San Francisco, California, playing with Al Simmons’ Rhythm Rockers. The following year he joined Jimmy McCracklin's band, and continued to work and record with McCracklin for most of the rest of his life. He also frequently recorded on sessions with other singers, including Jimmy Wilson, from the late 1940s into the 1950s. As well as recording with McCracklin, Wilson and others, Thomas recorded a number of sessions of his own during the 1950s, appearing as L. J. Thomas and his Louisiana Playboys, or "Thing" Thomas, on Chess, as Jerry Thomas on Modern, and as Lafayette Thomas on a number of other labels.
Influences and reception
Nicknamed "The Thing" for his acrobatic playing style, Thomas was influenced by his uncle Jesse Thomas, and T-Bone Walker. Writing in Living Blues magazine in July 1977, Tom Mazzolini, director of the San Francisco Blues Festival said, "Unquestionably the finest guitarist to emerge from the San Francisco-Oakland blues scene, there is hardly a guitarist around here today who doesn't owe a little something to Lafayette Thomas".
- Harris, S. (1981). Blues Who's Who. New York: Da Capo Press, pp. 509-510
- Russell, Tony (1997). The Blues - From Robert Johnson to Robert Cray. Dubai: Carlton Books Limited. p. 177. ISBN 1-85868-255-X.
- Lafayette Thomas: Artist biography, www.allmusic.com
- Leadbitter, M., Fancourt, L. and Pelletier, P. (1994): Blues Records 1943-1970 Vol 2, London: Record Information Services, pp. 591-592