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Hersal Thomas Transcriptions

Posted in - Biography & Transcriptions on January 10th 2013 0 Comments

Thomas BrothersTHOMAS, HERSAL (1906–1926). Child prodigy pianist, was born in Houston in September 9, 1906. Hersal was one of thirteen children of George and Fanny Thomas. George, Sr., was a deacon at Shiloh Baptist Church, where his children often sang in the choir and played the piano and organ. The Thomas family was exceptionally talented musically. Hersal’s older brother George Washington Thomas Jr.qv was a publisher and composer whose tunes included “New Orleans Hop Scop Blues” and “Muscle Shoals Blues.” In addition to composing, George was an accomplished pianist who taught Hersal to play. Although George was twenty-five years older than his youngest brother, Hersal’s skills were so exceptional that he quickly surpassed his brother in musical accomplishment. The most famous member of the Thomas family, however, was Hersal’s older sister, the sensational blues singer Beulah “Sippie” Wallace.

Hersal’s life was intertwined with Sippie’s. When he was a small child, he performed with her on Houston street corners for tips. In 1915 Hersal and Sippie moved to New Orleans to live with their brother George. They performed in New Orleans clubs and worked theaters throughout the South. In 1923 the two moved to Chicago to work with their brother George and their niece, blues singer Hociel Thomas. Although Hersal was still a teenager, his musical talents quickly became much in demand around the city. His performances of “The Fives,” the groundbreaking boogie-woogie song that Hersal and his brother George had published in 1922, inspired such Chicago pianists as Jimmy Yancey, Meade “Lux” Lewis, and Albert Ammons. In addition to playing in local venues, he toured with Louis Armstrong, Joe “King” Oliver, and Sippie. Hersal also backed his niece, Hociel, on most of her recordings. In 1925, at the age of fifteen, he recorded “Hersal Blues” and the piano classic “Suitcase Blues.” At the age of sixteen, while performing at Penny’s Pleasure Inn in Detroit, he contracted food poisoning and died on July 3, 1926.

Discography :

Texas Piano Volume 1 (1923-1935) Document Records DOCD-5224

Hersal Thomas :

  • Suitcase Blues (Hersal Thomas, pno solo – Chicago, c. 22 February 1925)
  • I Can’t Feel Frisky Without My Liquor (Hociel Thomas, vcl ; unknow, cl ; unknown, vln ; Hersal Thomas, pno – Richmond, Ind., 6 april 1925)
  • Worried Down With The Blues (Hociel Thomas, vcl ; unknow, cl ; unknown, vln ; Hersal Thomas, pno – Richmond, Ind., 6 april 1925)
  • I Must Have It (Hociel Thomas, vcl ; unknow, cl ; unknown, vln ; Hersal Thomas, pno – Richmond, Ind., 6 april 1925)
  • Hersal Blues (Hersal Thomas, pno solo – Chicago, c. early June 1925) 
  • Worried Down With The Blues (Hociel Thomas, vcl ; Hersal Thomas, pno – Chicago, c. early June 1925)
  • Fish Tail Dance (Hociel Thomas, vcl ; Hersal Thomas, pno – Chicago, c. early June 1925)

Hociel Thomas & Lillie Delk Christian (1925-1928)
Document Records DOCD-5448

  • Gambler’s Dream (Hociel Thomas, vcl ; Louis Armstrong, cnt; Johnny Dodds, cl; Hersal Thomas, pno; Johnny St. Cyr. bj)
  • Sunshine Baby (Hociel Thomas, vcl ; Louis Armstrong, cnt; Johnny Dodds, cl; Hersal Thomas, pno; Johnny St. Cyr. bj)
  • Adam And Eve Had The Blues (Hociel Thomas, vcl ; Louis Armstrong, cnt; Johnny Dodds, cl; Hersal Thomas, pno; Johnny St. Cyr. bj)
  • Put It Where I Can Get It (Hociel Thomas, vcl ; Louis Armstrong, cnt; Johnny Dodds, cl; Hersal Thomas, pno; Johnny St. Cyr. bj)
  • Wash Woman Blues (Hociel Thomas, vcl ; Louis Armstrong, cnt; Johnny Dodds, cl; Hersal Thomas, pno; Johnny St. Cyr. bj)
  • I’ve Stopped My Man (Hociel Thomas, vcl ; Louis Armstrong, cnt; Johnny Dodds, cl; Hersal Thomas, pno; Johnny St. Cyr. bj)
  • Deep Water Blues (Hociel Thomas, vcl ; Louis Armstrong, cnt; Hersal Thomas, pno)
  • G’wan I Told You (Hociel Thomas, vcl ; Louis Armstrong, cnt; Hersal Thomas, pno)
  • Listen to Ma (Hociel Thomas, vcl ; Louis Armstrong, cnt; Hersal Thomas, pno)
  • Lonesome Hours (Hociel Thomas, vcl ; Louis Armstrong, cnt; Hersal Thomas, pno)

 

Roll-O-Graphy

Underworld Blues (US Music Roll Co. 42240)

Hersal Blues (National Piano Roll Co.)

Hersal Blues (Wurlitzer Company of Chicago, IL.)

BIBLIOGRAPHY:

David Dicaire, Blues Singers (Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland, 1999). Colin Larkin, ed., Encyclopedia of Popular Music, 3d ed. (New York: Muze, 1998).Robert Santelli, Big Book of the Blues: A Biographical Encyclopedia (New York: Penguin Books, 1993). Peter J. Silvester, The Story of Boogie-Woogie: A Left Hand Like God (Lanham, Maryland: Scarecrow Press, Inc., 2009). John Tennison, “BOOGIE WOOGIE: Its Origin, Subequent History, and Continuing Development,” The Boogie Woogie Foundation (http://www.bowofo.org/), accessed December 3, 2011.

Transcriptions from original recording Copyright 2012 By N. Bello (ASCAP). All Rights Reserved

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