Fred Thomas
OriginGeorgia, U.S.
GenresR&B, soul, funk
Occupation(s)Musician
InstrumentsBass guitar, vocals
Years active1965–present
Associated actsJames Brown, The J.B.'s, Naomi Shelton & the Gospel Queens

Fred Thomas is an American bassist best known for his work with singer James Brown for over thirty years.[1] He performed on many R&B hits of the 1970s. His last recording is on the 2018 album We Came to Play.

Career

Thomas grew up in the US state of Georgia. He moved to New York City in 1965 and co-founded his own band with guitarist Hearlon "Cheese" Martin. He was the bassist as well as the lead vocalist of the group. He said: "I did my own thing, which is to keep a nice bottom in the pocket. I never bothered with any fancy stuff because I always did the singing in my bands, and you can't be fancy and sing".[2][3]

In 1971 James Brown saw the band at Smalls Paradise club in Harlem. Brown was in search of new musicians for his own band. He did an impromptu performance with the band and decided to hire the whole group.[2][3] Thomas said his band used to cover Brown's songs and that joining Brown was a smooth transition for them. He recorded on Brown's releases during 1970s.[2] The first album titled Hot Pants was in 1971.[4] He also recorded on releases by The J.B.'s.[5] Many of these recordings were later sampled in hip hop music, such as "Pass the Peas", "Gimme Some More", and "Escape-ism".[6]

Thomas performed with Brown for more than thirty years, longer than other bassists in that position. He recorded on several R&B number one hits such as "Hot Pants", "Make It Funky", and "Papa Don't Take No Mess".[2] In a 2005 interview he expressed satisfaction with his work, stating: "I've been involved in one of the biggest, most legendary acts in the world. It's gone on for a long time – 33 years, on and off – and I feel good about the musicians I've played with".[2]

After Brown's death in 2006, Thomas transitioned back to fronting his own group and collaborating with various bands.[3][7][8][9] His later recordings are with Naomi Shelton & the Gospel Queens in 2014 and The J.B.'s in 2018.[10][9]

Discography

Credits adapted in part from AllMusic.[11]

With James Brown
With The J.B.'s
  • Food for Thought (1972)[6]
  • Doing It to Death (1973)
  • Funky Good Time: The Anthology (1995)[12]
  • Pass the Peas: The Best of the J.B.'s (2000)[13][a]
  • Bring the Funk on Down (2002)
  • The Lost Album (2011)
  • We Came to Play (2018)[8]
With Culture
  • Good Things (1989)
With Naomi Shelton & the Gospel Queens
  • Cold World (2014)[10]

Notes

  1. ^ Per liner-notes by Alan Leeds, Thomas performed on: "Doing It to Death", "Hot Pants Road", "Pass the Peas", "Gimme Some More", "Givin' Up Food for Funk", "Same Beat", "Damn Right I Am Somebody", "Breakin' Bread", "(It's Not the Express) It's the J.B.'s Monaurail", "If You Don't Get It the First Time...".[14]

References

  1. ^ Mark von Bergen (October 1, 2009). "The Bass Players of James Brown..." Bass Musician magazine. Archived from the original on March 17, 2015. Retrieved September 8, 2019.
  2. ^ a b c d e "James Brown's Bassists". Bass Player magazine. March 1, 2005. Archived from the original on April 17, 2010. Retrieved September 7, 2019.
  3. ^ a b c Steve de Sève (April 21, 2016). Playing with James Brown's Bassist, Fred Thomas (Videotape). Brooklyn, New York: BRIC Arts Media. Archived from the original on May 4, 2018. Retrieved September 7, 2019 – via YouTube.com.
  4. ^ Jason Elias. "AllMusic: Hot Pants – album review". AllMusic. Archived from the original on August 29, 2017. Retrieved September 11, 2019.
  5. ^ Steve Huey. "AllMusic: The J.B.'s – biography". AllMusic. Archived from the original on January 1, 2016. Retrieved September 10, 2019.
  6. ^ a b Rickey Vincent (2014). Funk: The Music, The People, and The Rhythm of The One. St. Martin's Press. p. 82. ISBN 9781466884526. Retrieved September 10, 2019.
  7. ^ "The James Brown Tribute Show". Hurleyville Arts Centre. August 10, 2019. Archived from the original on September 10, 2019. Retrieved September 9, 2019.
  8. ^ a b "Fred Thomas, de bassist van James Brown" [Fred Thomas, James Brown's bass player] (in Dutch). basgitaarshop.nl. July 1, 2019. Archived from the original on September 10, 2019. Retrieved September 9, 2019. Google translation
  9. ^ a b Alan Ranta (September 16, 2018). "The J.B.'s – Rifflandia, Victoria BC, September 15". exclaim.ca. Archived from the original on March 7, 2019. Retrieved September 9, 2019.
  10. ^ a b Annie Dinerman (August 11, 2014). "Naomi Shelton & the Gospel Queens – Cold World (Daptone)". Elmore magazine. Archived from the original on March 24, 2016. Retrieved September 11, 2019.
  11. ^ "Allmusic: Fred Thomas – credits". AllMusic. Archived from the original on September 8, 2019. Retrieved September 8, 2019.
  12. ^ "The J.B.'s – Funky Good Time: The Anthology". discogs.com. 1995. Archived from the original on July 29, 2019. Retrieved September 8, 2019. Note: Liner-notes credits by Alan Leeds.
  13. ^ "The J.B.'s – Pass the Peas: The Best of the J.B.'s". discogs.com. 2000. Archived from the original on September 7, 2019. Retrieved September 7, 2019.
  14. ^ Liner-notes images at archive.org, album Pass the Peas: The Best of the J.B.'s: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

External links