Grapevine Magazine and GrapevineLIVE.co.uk are published by Musical Marketing, part of the Mansion House Publishing Group.
This month Foz focuses on one of this region’s most respected blues musicians Dave Thomas who lives in Diss. Dave has just released his first CD for ten years and it was recorded at one of Norwich’s best pubs.
If you cut Welshman Dave Thomas in half the word bluesman would run right through him. The singer and guitarist, who’s lived in Norfolk for well over twenty years now, has gained a great reputation in his beloved Chicago where urban blues began. Dave has become a regular visitor to the annual Chicago Blues Festival which I had the good fortune of attending back in 1990. On that never-to-be-forgotten trip I was lucky enough to meet one of the giants of the blues Willie Dixon and saw John Lee Hooker in concert in Grant Park.
Windy City has got to know Dave really well in recent years, so much so that many of Chicago’s leading blues musicians invite him up on stage whenever he’s over there. Dave also has strong links with Cleveland, Ohio and has good contacts in New York too. In fact, it could be the case that Dave is better known and appreciated in America than he is in the UK. That could all change with the release of a new live album.
Dave is no stranger to making albums, it’s just that he hasn’t produced one for over a decade. His long awaited return to the CD shelves is a live offering. The recording was made at the popular Fat Cat Brewery Tap in Norwich in March 2012. It was also filmed but for one reason or another nothing has appeared until now. The audio is excellent and fully deserves a fully- fledged release as a live album.
Accompanied by a tight knit band, Dave Thomas combines some of his own material with songs by some of his many blues heroes including James Cotton, Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf and Charles Brown. I admire Dave’s ability not to over-egg the pudding. He has a laid back style but is well capable of shifting it up a gear or two when necessary.
Dave’s last studio release was a double CD called Repossession Blues with Robert Jr Lockwood’s only harmonica player Wallace Cole-man. The latest one might have taken its time but the wait has been more than worthwhile and Live At The Fat Cat bodes well for his next release which it’s hoped will come out in the next few months.
There’s no doubt Dave Thomas has the bit between the teeth and is currently working with Colosseum’s Dave Greenslade and Jon Hiseman on an album of original material. He’s also busy putting together the Fine City Blues Festival which is bound to feature at least one of Dave’s many American friends.
First and foremost though is the new live CD. It’s being launched at Bungay’s Fisher Theatre on Friday, September 1 and then at the end of the month ( Sat 30/9) Dave and his band will be packing out The Cornhall in Diss. That venue has undergone a refurb and I reckon Dave Thomas is at the start of a new too. Perhaps this time the British blues audience will take him to their hearts, following in the footsteps of Paul Jones who’s already dubbed him East Anglia’s King Of The Blues.