The Racky Thomas Band
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The Racky Thomas Band

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The best kept secret in music

Press


"Troubled All The Time"

The Boston Blues News – March /April 2001

Take it from me, there’s no doubting this Thomas’ musical commitment. From the opener, “Ain’t it Lonesome”, Thomas and his all-star band establish their groove de disc.
On most songs, it’s Nick Adams’ educated guitar, Jeremy Berlin’s glowing piano and Thomas’ sensitive vocals that center the romp, but the sax appeal of Gordon Beadle and Doug James on three songs shakes out the deepest blues on the disc. Troy Gonyea handles the guitar on the first three songs. On “Blues Keep Me Troubled”, Bruce Katz’ organ combined with Adams’ sparse guitar provides a Jimmy Vaughan styled base. Except for Thomas’ Mooney-like vocal solo on “John The Revelator”, all the music here is original, but with the feel of something that’s been around. Amid the full band delights like “Oh My” and “Robbing Peter To Pay Paul” are stripped down arrangemets that explore all facets of an ensemble’s talents. “Eyes Like Diamonds” showcases Thomas’ solo National steel talents,“She Ain’t Your Average Ordinary Dame”, with only Berlin’s boogie-woogie piano and Jon Ross’ in the pocket drums, harkens back to the days when boogie-woogie piano ruled. On “All I Need Is You”, Ross puts the drum away and adds his mandolin to Thomas’ steel to get the jug band feel of the rural 1930’s.
As on his first CD, Thomas’s music has its roots firmly in the traditions of the blues, but the fresh, imaginitive approaches he and his hard working bandmates employ, make this as good as any blues recording you’ll find.

Art Tipaldi
- Boston Blues News


"Live At The Yardrock"

Great reviews from the French magazine Blues & Co.
Blues & Co. #22,

The Superior quality of this work would lead one to believe it must be done by a bunch of old veterans??? That’s what Tonton (Uncle) was thinking, but no!!!
The driver of the team, 33 year old singer/harmonica player George Radcliffe ‘Racky’ Thomas, regales us with the sound of the Blues and nothin’ but the Blues. A polished kind of Blues, a mix of West Coast jump, Boogie-Woogie, and 50’s Chicago Blues, not to mention a dash of swamp, superbly interpreted by musicians who show extraordinary maturity.
The leader of the band, Racky Thomas, is a convincing singer with the gravelly, smoky voice of a veteran, in the style of Sam Myers, and a superb roots-style harmonica player who gives it 100%, and for good reason; because at his side Nick Adams on guitar
does it without trying too much. Adams touches your soul, messes with your emotions, makes your hair stand on end, and sends chills down your spine.
The next phenomenon; theBoogie-Woogie man; pianist, Jeremy Berlin has nothing to envy from Father Nick, and will make you lose your mind. And as Tonton always says; the front men would be nothing without the lungs of the bass and drums; In this case Todd Carson and Jon Ross, two great boosters beautifully supported by Tenor sax man Gordon Beadle.

Superb, awesome; and when it’s live it’s hard to cheat. No chance to redo, it’s pure, it’s real. Got to your piggy-banks. This is one you absolutely have to check out. The mega-recommendation of Tonton.

Tonton Erick

Translated from French by Jeremy Berlin and Brigitte Blas
- Blues & Co (France)


"Press Quotes"

The Racky Thomas Band



“Close your eyes and you’d think you were listening to an older, larger blues veteran…this band has the verve and juice to go national.” – The Boston Herald


“classy blues…vintage harp” – The Boston Globe

“Thomas’ voice has a deep, resonant tone worthy of an older, more weathered blues veteran.”
- Boston Blues Society

“These tunes will be new blues classics…soulful songwriting, classic horn arrangements and guest musicianship” - The Blues Audience

“An artist to watch out for, remember where you heard it first.” Tony Burke – Blues & Rhythm Magazine – UK

“….a tough harp blower with a suitably lived in voice.” Phil Wight – Blues & Rhythm Magazine – UK

“…the stuff is good!” Peter “Fish” Case – WKVT – Brattleboro, VT

“Live, I’ll bet he really can blow the house down” – Phil Wight – Blues & Rhythm Magazine,UK

“Solid straight-ahead blues.” Kris Handel – bluenight.com

“…an amazingly authentic band with lots of grit & soul.” Charlie Lange – Blubeat Music

“…brings back memories of veterans of the genre.” Dietmar Hoscher – Concerto.at

“…one helluva band.” Joe Hajjar – Owner/proprietor – The Yardrock, Quincy, MA.

“Why this band is just a regional act is mystifying.” – Charlie Lange – Bluebeat Music


- Various


"Troubled All The Time"


Record Convention News¡ñ Crestline, CA ¡ñ April¡ñMay 2001

Years ago I used to write for a Blues Music newsletter. It was my interest in, and love for the blues that eventually led me to that point. By then the blues had become a kind of booming cottage industry for anyone with a bar band, or any kid with a guitar or harmonica to specialize in, meet chicks, have drinks bought for you, make a little (usually very little) money and maybe have a good time at it. Sometimes, some very good music would happen as well. Sadly, often the music was second rate and the only thing that seemed to matter was which band had the coolest shades and/or fedoras. Still, sometimes that good thing would happen.

Racky Thomas & Band operate in Boston, MA.. I hope that someday I get back there to see them, or that they end up touring out this way, because this CD is really fine and I¡¯d sure like to catch them live at this stuff. We have a mutual friend (Dan Kochakian, who published a great small mag called ¡°Whiskey, Women and¡­¡± ¨C remember that one?) and he suggested Racky send me a CD. Thanks Dan.

The blues here presented is refreshing in its variety of styles and in the high quality of the performance and production. From Chicago to Swamp, Jump to reworked Traditional, thank you for not being stuck someplace.

All lthe tunes but one traditional one, ¡°John The Revelator¡±, are written by vocalist/harmonica player Racky, or by bass player Todd Carson, or both. Racky is the vocalist and he brings a fine feeling for his material and a smokey vocal quality to it as well. Whoops, I just noticed that on some tracks he also plays National steel guitar too.

There are lots of players in and out on various tracks, so I¡¯m not going to start talking about each one. Just know that the musicianship here is high quality throughout. So, if you¡¯re a blues fan, booker, club operator or just intrigued by all this, I suggest you go on the internet to this band¡¯s website and find out how to get this on CD. The site is: www.therackythomasband.com. Do it now.

Jim Philbrook
- Record Convention News


"Last Of The Big Spenders"

Coming out of the ‘Live Free Or Die State’ (that’s New Hampshire to us folks!) George Radcliffe Thomas was born in 1969 but sounds as if he’s been playing the blues and r&b since the late Forties. Thomas and his boys cut this set in the summer of 1998 in Brookline, MA. – Not exactly down-home blues territory, but that don’t matter, this is a top notch outfit.
As with the UK’s own Big Joe Louis, Racky Thomas has th ability to recreate the sound and feel of Forties, Fifties, and Sixties blues and r&b. Not only that, he is a graduate of the Berklee School of Music, plays guitar, National steel, and harmonica. Racky’s main influences include T-Bone Walker, Clifton Chenier, Tiny Grimes, Hollywood Fats, Louis Myers, and Wynonie Harris. So you have a good idea of what to expect.
However, the real difference with other blues contenders is that he writes his own material, very much int the late Forties and Fifties bag. He switches between West Coast jump, New Orleans shuffle, and early Fifties Chicago, and for good measure turns in an exquisite ‘Death Letter Blues’, complete with National Steel and many of Son House’s licks and phrasings.
Best songs on the set include; ‘Sweet Dough Baker’, a nice Chicago styled number, the title track, a Crudup take on ‘These Lowdownd Blues’, ‘Tears Fell Down Like Rain’, as well as a fine version of Clifton Chenier’s ‘Standin’ On A Corner’. Thomas also tackles Sixties soul on ‘Just A Fool’, and does it real well.
An artist to watch out for- remember where you read it first. For more info check out www.therackythomas.com or www.cdfreedom.com.

Tony Burke
- Blues & Rhythm


"Live At The Yardrock"

This is Racky Thomas’ third outing on this imprint so they must think it’s worth sticking with him. Cant’t say I blame them as on the evidence of this release this outfit cerainly have to be ranked up there in the premier league of Stateside white boy blues bands. Their style is the currently fashionable West Coast swing approach coupled with down-home Chicago with a side step to Longhair New Orleans style on ‘Don’t Treat Me Like That’
Thomas is a convincing vocalist and good old-fashioned harp blower and in guitarist Nick Adams they have a superb musician, equally at home swinging it out T-Bone fashion, or laying down a tight rhythm workout.
Material is a blend of decent covers and originals penned by Thomas and bass player Todd Carson. Tenor sax man Gordon Beadle guests on a couple of cuts and the rest of the band comprises Jeremy Berlin on keys and Jon Ross on drums.
Standout cuts: ‘The Hustle Is On’ and ‘Oh My’; the instrumental harp workout ‘Rack ‘em Up’; the slowie ‘Can’t Win For Losin’ and the West Side-styled closer ‘Blues Keep Me Troubled’.
But my fave cut is a track I never thought I’d see on a blues album, it’s jazz tenor sax man Sonny Rollins’ composition ‘Tenor Madness’, which he first cut for Prestige back in 1956. With a swing guitar intro, Beadle doing the sax bit and Berlin’s jazzy piano solo, it’s West Coast swing meets fifties post bop, solid man!
If you were impressed with Racky Thomas’ previous outings then this offering is sure to please all you hep cats out there!

Phil Wight

- Blues & Rhythm


Discography

Live At The Yardrock - 2002
Troubled All The Time - 2000
Last Of The Big Spenders - 1999

Photos

Feeling a bit camera shy

Bio

The Racky Thomas Band, hailing from Boston, Massachusetts, plays the blues as though they came right out of post-war Chicago or the Missisippi Delta. Known for their authentic and energetic interpretations of traditional blues and the down-home feel of their original compositions, the band carries a reputation as a crowd pleaser everywhere they go.

Driven by Thomas’ emotive vocals and in the pocket harmonica style, the educated, passionate, and fiery guitar of Nick Adams, Todd Carson’s authentic upright-bass, and blues veteran Mike Avery’s accomplished drumming, this is a band not easily overlooked.

The Racky Thomas Band had the honor of winning the prestigious Boston Battle of the Blues Bands in 1997, and was recently nominated for Best New Blues Act in the 2002 Boston Music Awards. They have performed with such blues luminaries as Luther “Guitar” Junior Johnson, Ronnie Earl, and Johnny Hoy and the Bluefish. Their loyal following draws an enthusiastic response to appearances at live festivals and regular club performances throughout New England.

The band has been featured on a number of live radio broadcasts, including Bluesology on WERS in Boston, Blues Deluxe on WJUL in Lowell, and the late Mai Cramer’s Blues After Hours on WGBH Radio in Boston. Their three self-produced cds, Last of The Big Spenders, Troubled All The Time, and Live At The Yardrock, have received widespread critical praise in local, national, and international publications, and airplay on many different radio programs in the United States and abroad.

The band’s deep respect for roots music, their commitment to keeping the blues alive for audiences spanning generations, and their verve and showmanship comprise just a few of the the characteristics for which they are widely recognized.