Document Records - Vintage Blues and Jazz

Document Records
Ramblin' Thomas & The Dallas Blues Singers 1928 - 1932

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Troy Ferguson
Otis Harris
Sammy Hill
Jesse 'Babyface' Thomas
Ramblin' Thomas


Ramblin' Thomas
01 - So lonesome Listen
02 - Hard to rule woman blues Listen
03 - Lock and key blues Listen
04 - Sawmill moan Listen
05 - No baby blues Listen
06 - Ramblin` mind blues Listen
07 - No job blues Listen
08 - Back gnawing blues Listen
09 - Jig head blues Listen
10 - Hard dallas blues Listen
11 - Ramblin` man Listen
12 - Poor boy blues Listen
13 - Good time blues Listen
14 - New way of linving blues Listen
15 - Ground hog blues Listen
16 - Shake it gal Listen

Jesse 'Babyface' Thomas
17 - Down in Texas blues Listen
18 - My heart is a rolling stone Listen
19 - Blue goose blues Listen
20 - No good woman blues Listen
21 - Good night (with Troy Ferguson, vocal) Listen

Sammy Hill
22 - Cryin` for you blues Listen
23 - Needin` my woman blues Listen

Otis Harris
24 - Waking blues Listen
25 - You`ll like my loving Listen

Various artists.

Genres: Texas blues, Country blues, Country blues guitar, Bottleneck-slide guitar

Informative booklet notes by Bob Groom.
Detailed discography.

Review by Arwul Arwulf:

Guitarist Willard “Ramblin’” Thomas was born in Logansport, LA in 1902. In 1945, he was struck down by tuberculosis while in Memphis, TN, leaving behind about 18 recordings, 16 of which have been reissued on one disc by Document along with assorted tidbits by four other bluesmen, most of whom recorded in Dallas during the late ’20s.

Whereas Willard’s timing, texture, and technique suggest the influence of Lonnie Johnson and Tampa Red, his work is also stylistically linked with that of Blind Lemon Jefferson, Texas Alexander, Ed Bell, Furry Lewis, Funny Paper Smith, and Little Hat Jones — all substantial Southern blues musicians.

After hooking up with talent scouts in Dallas, Ramblin’ Thomas cut his first 14 sides for Paramount in Chicago in February and November, 1928. Ground Hog Blues and Shake It Blues (also known as “Shake It Gal”) were recorded for Victor in Dallas on February 9, 1932. Ground Hog Blues No. 2 and Little Old Mama Blues were waxed at the same session but are not included on this collection.

What follows are four sides cut in Dallas on August 10, 1929 by Willard’s little brother, Jesse “Babyface” Thomas. My Heart’s a Rolling Stone is structurally a bit different from the formula regularly used by Willard, as is Blue Goose Blues, a performance that resembles the work of eastern bluesmen Blind Boy Fuller, Blind Blake, and Blind Willie McTell. On the same day and again two months later, Jesse Thomas and pianist K.D. Johnson made about ten recordings altogether as accompanists for Bessie Tucker, and these may be found on Document’s edition of her complete recorded works.

The deep voice heard singing the lullaby waltz Good Night belonged to one Troy Ferguson. This recording, which was made in Atlanta, GA in November 1929, was included here because the person whistling is listed as Jesse Thomas — although various blues historians have since insisted that this was not the same person as Jesse “Babyface” Thomas. Recorded on August 9, 1929, Cryin’ for You Blues and Needin’ My Woman Blues are performed by Sammy Hill backed by a second guitarist by the name of McKeno. Walking Blues and You’ll Like My Loving were recorded in Dallas in December 1928 by Otis Harris.

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