Sonny Thompson

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Sonny Thompson (probably August 23, 1916 – August 11, 1989),[1] born Alfonso Thompson[2][3] or Hezzie Tompson,[1] was an American R&B bandleader and pianist, popular in the 1940s and 1950s.

Biography[edit]

There is some uncertainty over Thompson's origins, as well as his birth name. Researchers Bob Eagle and Eric LeBlanc indicate that he was born in 1916 in Wilkinson County, Mississippi,[1] but other sources state that he was born in 1923, either in Mississippi[4] or in Chicago.[2][5]

He began recording in 1946, and in 1948 achieved two #1 R&B chart hits on the Miracle label – "Long Gone (Parts I and II)" and "Late Freight", both featuring saxophonist Eddie Chamblee.[2] The follow-ups "Blue Dreams" and "Still Gone" also reached the R&B chart.[2] By 1952 he had moved on to King Records, where he worked in A&R and as a session musician and arranger.[6] At King, he had further R&B Top 10 successes with the singer Lula Reed, the biggest hit being "I'll Drown in My Tears". Thompson married Reed sometime in the early 1950s. He continued to work as a session musician, and to perform with Reed into the early 1960s. He also had success as a songwriter, often co-writing with blues guitarist, Freddie King.

Thompson died in 1989 in Chicago.[4]

Discography[edit]

Original 10" shellac (78rpm) and 7" vinyl (45rpm) releases[edit]

MIRACLE releases:

  • 108 Sonny's Blues* // Screamin' Boogie ---by Dick Davis and Orchestra featuring Sonny Thompson (*vocal by Sonny)
  • 109 Memphis Train // Benson Jump ---by Dick Davis and Orchestra featuring Sonny Thompson
  • 123 If I Didn't Have You** // Palmer's Boogie ---by Sonny Thompson Orchestra (**vocal by Gladys Palmer; "Palmer's Boogie" is a piano duet between Sonny and Gladys)
  • 124 Tears Follow My Dreams*** // Moon Is On My Side ---by Sonny Thompson with the Sharps and Flats [Arvin Garrett-guitar/Leroy Morrison-bass/Thurman "Red" Cooper-drums] (***vocal by Browley Guy)
  • 126 Long Gone (Pt. 1) // Long Gone (Pt. 2)+ ---by Sonny Thompson with the Sharps and Flats (+featuring Eddie Chamblee-tenor sax)
  • 127 In The Rain** // Just Boogie (AKA "Deadline Boogie") ---by Sonny Thompson with the Sharps and Flats (**vocal by Gladys Palmer)
  • 128 Late Freight (AKA "Creepin'")+ // Sonny's Return (AKA "House Full Of Blues" or simply "Blues") ---by Sonny Thompson Quintet (+featuring Eddie Chamblee-tenor sax)
  • 131 Blue Dreams+ // Blues On Rhumba ---by Sonny Thompson and Orchestra (+featuring Eddie Chamblee-tenor sax)
  • 139 Still Gone (Pt. 3) // Still Gone (Pt. 4) ---by Sonny "Long Gone" Thompson and Orchestra
  • 146 Dreaming Again // Backyard Affair ---by Sonny Thompson and Orchestra
  • 148 Sonny Claus Blues* // Not On A Xmas Tree ---by Sonny Thompson and Orchestra (*vocal by Sonny)

OLD SWING MASTER (or simply 'MASTER') release:

  • 1011 The Fish (Pt. 1) // The Fish (Pt. 2) ---by Sonny Thompson and His Orchestra

KING releases:

  • 4345 Sugar Cane // I'm Coming Back Home To Stay
  • 4364 After Sundown // Frog Legs
  • 4384 Nightfall // Palmetto
  • 4399 Blues For The Nightowls // Harlem Rug Cutter
  • 4431 Smoke Stack Blues // Uncle Sam Blues* (*vocal by Jesse Edwards)
  • 4438 Long Gone (Pt. 1) // Long Gone (Pt. 2) ---reissue of Miracle 126
  • 4446 Gone Again Blues // Jumping With The Rhumba
  • 4470 Blue Piano** // Sunshine Blues (**vocal by Royal Trent)
  • 4488 Mellow Blues (Pt. 1) // Mellow Blues (Pt. 2) (featuring Robert Hadley-tenor sax on both sides)
  • 4527 I'll Drown In My Tears*** // Clang, Clang, Clang (***vocal by Lula Reed)
  • 4541 Let's Call It A Day*** // Blues Mambo (***vocal by Lula Reed)
  • 4554 Real, Real Fine (Pt. 1) // Real, Real Fine (Pt. 2)
  • 4595 Chloe // Last Night*** (***vocal by Lula Reed)
  • 4613 Clean Sweep // Insulated Sugar
  • 4639 Low Flame // Waiting To Be Loved By You*** (***vocal by Lula Reed)
  • 4657 Let's Move // My Heart Needs Someone+ (+vocal by Rufus Junior)
  • 4678 Pastry // I Hope You Love Me Too+ (+vocal by Rufus Junior)
  • 4698 So-o-o Good // Things Ain't What They Used To Be
  • 4712 Down In The Dumps // I Ain't No Watch Dog++ (++vocal by Paul Tate)
  • 4718 Single Shot // I'm Beggin' And Pleadin'++ (++vocal by Paul Tate)
  • 4729 Cotton Ball (Pt. 1) // Cotton Ball (Pt. 2) (featuring David Bubba Brooks-tenor sax on both sides)
  • 4746 Cat On The Keys (Pt. 1) // Cat On The Keys (Pt. 2)
  • 4791 Behind The Sun (Pt. 1) // Behind The Sun (Pt. 2)
  • 4809 First Base // Lonely Moon
  • 4899 I'll Drown In My Tears // Let's Call It A Day ---reissues of King 4527A and 4541A
  • 4992 Low Down // Lost In This Great Big City++ (++vocal by Paul Tate)
  • 5055 Gum Shoe+++ // Stop, Come See Me++ (++vocal by Paul Tate; +++featuring King Curtis-tenor sax)
  • 5396 The Duck Walk // Swinging Shepherd Blues

CHART releases:

  • 611 It's Love, It's Love // Mexico Bound (vocal by The Champions "vocal group" on both sides)
  • 612 Slow Rock (Pt. 1) // Slow Rock (Pt. 2) (featuring David Bubba Brooks-tenor sax on both sides)
  • 618 Bus Ride // Foot Stompin' (featuring David Bubba Brooks-tenor sax on both sides)
  • 620 The Same Old Story // Pay Me Some Attention (vocal by The Champions "vocal group" on both sides)
  • 630 Bus Ride // Foot Stompin' (featuring David Bubba Brooks-tenor sax on both sides) ---reissue of Chart 618
  • 631 Come On // Big Bad Beulah (vocal by The Champions "vocal group" on both sides)
  • 633 Juke Joint (Pt. 1) // Juke Joint (Pt. 2)
  • 637 Drive In // Drive Out
  • 642 Candy (Pt. 1) // Candy (Pt. 2)
  • 645 Hi-Ho // Day Break Blues
  • 648 Caribbean Cruise // Night Watch

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Eagle, Bob; LeBlanc, Eric S. (2013). Blues - A Regional Experience. Santa Barbara: Praeger Publishers. p. 192. ISBN 978-0313344237. 
  2. ^ a b c d Whitburn, Joel (1996). Top R&B/Hip-Hop Singles: 1942-1995. Record Research. p. 443. 
  3. ^ Robert Pruter and Robert L. Campbell, The Sultan label. Campber.people.clemson.edu, Retrieved 13 October 2016
  4. ^ a b Rock, Doc. "The Dead Rock Stars Club - New Entries". Thedeadrockstarsclub.com. Retrieved 25 January 2018. 
  5. ^ "Sonny Thompson - Biography & History". AllMusic. Retrieved 25 January 2018. 
  6. ^ Randy McNutt, King Records of Cincinnati, Arcadia Publishing, 2009, p.30