|Birth name||Willard Thomas|
Logansport, Louisiana, United States
Memphis, Tennessee, Tennessee, United States
|Genres||Texas blues, country blues|
|Occupation(s)||Singer, guitarist, songwriter|
|Associated acts||Jesse Thomas|
Ramblin' Thomas (1902–1945) was an American country blues singer, guitarist and songwriter. He was the brother of another blues musician, Jesse Thomas. Thomas is best remembered for his slide guitar playing, and recording several pieces in the late 1920s and early 1930s. Blues scholars seem undecided if Thomas's nickname of Ramblin' was in reference to his style of playing, or itinerant nature.
Willard Thomas was born in Logansport, Louisiana, one of nine children. His father played the fiddle, and three brothers Joe L., Jesse, and Willard learnt to play the guitar, with Willard particularly practising slide guitar techniques. Thomas relocated to Deep Ellum, Dallas, Texas in the late 1920s, and was influenced by the playing of Lonnie Johnson. He performed in San Antonio, Oklahoma and possibly St. Louis, Missouri in his subsequent travels. Thomas recorded in both Dallas and Chicago between 1928 and 1932, for Paramount Records and Victor Records.
Thomas reportedly died of tuberculosis in 1945 in Memphis, Tennessee. Document Records are amongst the record labels (previously there were LP issues on Heritage, Biograph, and Matchbox Records) to have released retrospective compilations of Thomas' work on CD.
All known recorded songs are: “So Lonesome,” “Hard To Rule Woman Blues,” “Lock And Key Blues,” “Sawmill Moan,” “No Baby Blues,” “Ramblin' Mind Blues,” “No Job Blues,” “Back Gnawing Blues,” “Jig Head Blues,” “Hard Dallas Blues” (take 2), “Hard Dallas Blues” (take 4), “Ramblin' Man,” “Poor Boy Blues,” “Good Time Blues,” “New Way Of Living Blues,” “Ground Hog Blues,” “Shake It Gal,” “Ground Hog Blues No. 2,” “Little Old Mama Blues”.
- Chadbourne, Eugene. "Ramblin' Thomas". Allmusic. Retrieved January 30, 2010.
- Du Noyer, Paul (2003). The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Music (1st ed.). Fulham, London: Flame Tree Publishing. p. 181. ISBN 1-904041-96-5.
- Russell, Tony (1997). The Blues: From Robert Johnson to Robert Cray. Dubai: Carlton Books Limited. p. 110. ISBN 1-85868-255-X.
- Evans, David (2008). Ramblin' on my Mind: New Perspectives on the Blues. Illinois: University of Illinois Press. p. 195. ISBN 978-0-252-03203-5.
- "Ramblin' Thomas discography". Wirz.de. Retrieved 2014-01-28.
- "Blues & Gospel - Sonny Terry -> Ramblin' Thomas". Rootsandrhythm.com. 1952-08-15. Retrieved 2014-01-28.
- Eugene Chadbourne. "Ramblin' Mind Blues: Chicago Blues, 1928 - Ramblin' Thomas | Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 2014-01-28.
- "1928-1932 - Ramblin' Thomas | Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 2014-01-28.