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Chas. Thomas

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  • Michael Rader
    I have been carrying on an off-group conversation with listmate Dave Brown about the mysterious Big Charlie Thomas , who is the subject of a compilation on a
    Message 1 of 35 , Jun 22, 2006
      I have been carrying on an off-group conversation with listmate Dave Brown about the mysterious "Big Charlie Thomas", who is the subject of a compilation on a Timeless CD. Dave has tried a couple of times to start a thread on RHJ but met with little response. One question that has emerged is whether there was a New Orleans cornetist called Chas. (or Charles) Thomas.

      The story behind "Big Charlie" comes from activities linked with a serialised discography on Clarence Williams. At about that time Clarence' widow, the singer Eva Taylor, visited the UK and was interviewed by members of the Storyville team. In connection with the 23 November 1925, New York session for "Get It Fixed" and "Shake That Thing", Eva was asked if the trumpeter/cornetist was June Clark. She denied this and said it was a cornetist called--- Thomas, who was an older man than the other musicians ("a lot") and played a lot of Louis' licks. Clarence used him on several sessions around the time, but he soon disappeared and Eva did not know what had happened to him.

      The Lord Clarence Williams discography adds a note which states that a New Orleans cornetist by the name of Chas. Thomas was reported to be visiting Washington by the "Chicago Defender".

      The "Big Charlie" comes from a recording by Margaret Carter with Buddy Christian's Jazz Rippers, which includes a shout of encouragement to "Big Charlie" after a cornet solo. Since John R.T. Davies, who compiled the Timeless CD believed this was the same man as on the 23 November 1925 session, he put two and two together and concocted "Big Charlie Thomas".

      The CD includes three takes from a Tom Morris session usually crediting the second cornet apart from Mrris to Jabbo Smith. The notes to the Frog CD containing Morris' works state that Jabbo himself confirmed his own work to Richard Rains.

      Does anyone know why these sides were included in the "Big Charlie" CD? Are there any other reports of a cornetist named Chas. Thomas? Is it always the same cornetist? Questions over questions.

      Michael Rader
      Karlsruhe,
      Germany
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    • Howard Rye
      ... and still does. This may be an oversight or it may be a judgment! Howard Rye, 20 Coppermill Lane, London, England, E17 7HB howard@coppermill.demon.co.uk
      Message 35 of 35 , Jul 2, 2006
        on 2/7/06 9:22, Prof_Hi_Jinx at prof_hi_jinx@... wrote:

        > Louella Jones - masters 5695-6
        >
        > (The 1982 B&GR gave Miley as cornetist for Louella Jones' session.)

        and still does. This may be an oversight or it may be a judgment!

        Howard Rye, 20 Coppermill Lane, London, England, E17 7HB
        howard@...
        Tel/FAX: +44 20 8521 1098
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