Jah Thomas wants to break new ground

by Dec 20, 2022News

Jah Thomas

There was a lot of bustle in the background during this website’s recent telephone interview with Jah Thomas. The veteran toaster repeatedly apologised for the constant breaks as he pitched his upcoming album.

“Clarks A Clarks” is the name of the 12-song set which is scheduled for release in January by Tad’s International Record. It contains the title track, which salutes the popular British shoe, as well as collaborations with Jah Thomas’ contemporaries, Josey Wales and Peter Metro as well as his son Da’Ville.

London has been his happy stomping ground for 40 years, but with “Clarks A Clarks” he wants to break new ground. He is looking at mainstream Europe.

“Mi want di whole world tek to it,” he said.

Jah Thomas disclosed that the songs on “Clarks A Clarks” were recorded during the past three years with a number of top musicians including drummer Sly Dunbar, bass guitarists Danny “Axeman” Thompson and Errol “Flabba” Holt, keyboardist Obeah Denton, and guitarist Dwight Pinkney.

He boasts that the album retains the sound that brought him success with songs like “Shoulder Move.”

“Drum an’ bass nice up di place. Di old time Jah Thomas sound,” he said.

The 67 year-old artiste produced “Clarks A Clarks” for Midnight Rock, the label he started in 1977. It is named for his debut song which was released the previous year by producer Alvin “GG” Ranglin.

Since 1979, Jah Thomas has produced his songs and albums and songs by Sugar Minott, Tristan Palmer, Barry Brown, Super Cat, Anthony Johnson, Little John, Singing Melody, and Da’Ville.

Born Nkrumah Thomas in Kingston, Jah Thomas was named after Kwame Nkrumah, Ghana’s first president/prime minister. He was born in Rockfort, east KIngston, but raised in Trench Town during the 1960s.

Jah Thomas started out as a singer with his earliest influences being The Heptones, the venerable harmony trio that also came from Trench Town. In the early 1970s, when he began attending dances, he developed an appreciation for the music of pioneer deejay U Roy who was making a name toasting to hit songs by The Paragons.

Another influence was Dillinger, whose edgy style he admired.

Along with U Brown, Josey Wales, and Charlie Chaplin, Jah Thomas represented a new wave of dancehall deejays heading into the 1980s. Like their predecessors, they made a name on sound systems before getting the break on radio.

Three years after recording his first released single, Jah Thomas hit the charts with songs like “Landlord”, “Cricket Lovely Cricket” and “Shoulder Move”. The latter was a horn-hooked radio anthem and remains Jah Thomas’ most commercially successful song.

“Clarks A Clarks” will be released by Tad’s International Record on January 13, 2023.

(Photo of Jah Thomas: still taken from a YouTube video)

Shoulder Move

Cricket Lovely Cricket

Landlord

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