Editors’ Notes One of the most distinctive stylists of the pre-war era, Henry Thomas belongs to a select group of songsters whose repertoire was derived mainly from pre-blues sources — medicine and minstrel show songs, 19th-century rags, and traditional songs of celebration and lament dating back to the antebellum era. Like his peers Papa Charlie Jackson, Funny Papa Smith, and others, Thomas’ work would influence the stylistic development of countless blues artists to come, but unlike those performers, whose sophisticated song structures often betrayed the influence of big-city jazz and Tin Pan Alley pop, Thomas’ percussive strumming style and simple one- or two-chord songs provide listeners with an unalloyed glimpse at rural black musical traditions. In the late ‘20s the Texas based Thomas cut 23 sides for Vocalion records, all of which are included on this Document release, and his recordings have never sounded better than they do here. Listeners familiar with Thomas’ work through compilations like The Anthology of American Folk Music or Yazoo Records’ Texas Worried Blues will want to pick up this collection without delay.

1
2:46
 
2
2:49
 
3
2:48
 
4
2:38
 
5
2:50
 
6
2:55
 
7
3:07
 
8
2:53
 
9
2:54
 
10
2:56
 
11
2:49
 
12
2:56
 
13
2:59
 
14
3:27
 
15
3:01
 
16
3:09
 
17
3:18
 
18
2:46
 
19
2:54
 
20
3:04
 
21
3:08
 
22
3:18
 
23
3:24
 

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