Marvell Thomas

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Marvell Thomas
Born 1941 (age 74–75)
Memphis, Tennessee, United States
Genres Memphis soul
Occupation(s) Keyboardist

Marvell Thomas (born 1941)[1] is an African American keyboardist known for his work in Memphis Soul, and son of the man dubbed "Memphis's other King", Rufus Thomas. His sister Carla Thomas was known as the "Memphis Queen" after her breakthrough hit "Gee Whiz (Look at His Eyes)".[2]

Born in Memphis, Tennessee, United States,[1] Thomas' studio career started at the age of 17. He was the first piano player to punch the clock at Stax Records. He played on the label's earliest national hits, including "Burnt Biscuits" (by the short-lived group The Triumphs, later covered by Booker T. & the MGs), childhood friend William Bell's "You Don't Miss Your Water", and the company's first hit "Cause I Love You" (featuring a sixteen-year-old Booker T. Jones on saxophone), a duet by Rufus and Carla Thomas. He also played on some of Wilson Pickett sessions at Stax and at Muscle Shoals. More sessions at Muscle Shoals included Clarence Carter, Eddie Hinton, and Denise LaSalle.

Thomas worked frequently as keyboardist and arranger, appearing on albums by Johnnie Taylor, The Staple Singers, Little Milton, The Emotions, Albert King, Mavis Staples, Yvonne Elliman, and Etta James.[3]

Thomas co-produced and handled the keys on the multi-platinum Isaac Hayes album, Hot Buttered Soul.[4]

Thomas' touring credits include concert tours with The Temptations, music director for Peabo Bryson, father Rufus Thomas, sister Carla Thomas and Isaac Hayes.


  1. ^ a b "Memphis Downtowner Magazine - My 2 Cents". Retrieved 2015-07-16. 
  2. ^ "Rufus and Carla Thomas". Retrieved 2015-07-16. 
  3. ^ "Marvell Thomas | Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved 2015-07-16. 
  4. ^ Browne, Pat (15 June 2001). The Guide to United States popular culture. Popular Press. p. 371. ISBN 978-0-87972-821-2. Retrieved 30 May 2010.