Lafayette Thomas

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Jerry ("Jeri") Lafayette Thomas (June 13, 1928 – May 20, 1977[1][2]) was an American blues singer, and guitarist.


Thomas was born in Shreveport, Louisiana. He was first introduced to blues music by his uncle, musician Jesse Thomas. He began his music career in 1947 after a move to San Francisco, California.[3]

"Lafayette" Thomas was the famous guitarist of Jimmy McCracklin's Blues Blasters, which he joined in 1948 and recorded with right through the 1950s. He was influenced by Lightnin' Hopkins and T-Bone Walker and joined Bob Geddins and the Cavaliers in 1949. The bulk of his recordings were with Jimmy McCracklin in the 1950s, and for Modern in 1952-53. He soloed on his own "Standing in the Back Door Crying",[4] recorded at a 1954 McCracklin session with Modern Records.[3]

He temporarily moved to New York, where he worked with Sammy Price, Memphis Slim, and Little Brother Montgomery starting in 1958.[3]

Late in 1968, he recorded his first sides for the World Pacific record label on Oakland Blues, a compilation album of artists from that city. He remained semi active in the early 1970s working with Sugar Pie DeSanto.

Thomas died from a heart attack, in Brisbane, California, at the age of 48. In his 1977 obituary Tom Mazzolini, producer of the San Francisco Blues Festival wrote: "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 . . ."[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Dead Rock Stars Club - accessed December 2007
  2. ^ Lafayette Thomas at AllMusic. Retrieved December 2007.
  3. ^ a b c {{cite book His Blues Blasters Boogie (Modern 1954) with the Blues Blasters, Instrumental Jump/Big Town Jump (Big Town 1953) and the 1956 hit record The Thing (Trilyte) are among the best tracks where his aggressive, fine guitar style is best featured. He also backed Roy Hawkins, Maxwell Davis, Johnny Heartsman Jimmy Wilson and Juke Boy Bonner in the 1950s, and recorded with Memphis Slim in 1960 for Prestige-Bluesville. | first= Tony | last= Russell | year= 1997 | title= The Blues - From Robert Johnson to Robert Cray | edition= | publisher=Carlton Books Limited | location= Dubai | page= 177 | id= ISBN 1-85868-255-X}}
  4. ^ Standing in the Back Door Crying at AllMusic
  5. ^ Jimmy McCracklin & Lafayette Thomas

External links[edit]