Nkrumah "Jah" Thomas, (born 1955, Kingston Jamaica) named after African nationalist leader Kwame Nkrumah, adopted the stage name Jah Thomas and began DJing in the late 70's. His first tune, "Midnight Rock," produced by Alvin Ranglin in 1976, was a hit on the Jamaican charts and his subsequent first LP Stop Yuh Loafin' released on London's then up and coming Greensleeves label in 1978, exposed him to an international audience. His deejaying career gave way to producing in the early 80's and his partnerships with Robert Ffrench, Triston Palmer, Johnny Osbourne, Michael Palmer, Barry Brown, Barrington Levy, Sugar Minott, Ranking Toyan and Early B, produced some outstanding reggae music and his own highly successful Midnight Rock and eventual Nura labels.
Well as you can imagine, this is where it starts getting good... the music. Jah Thomas has always been one of my favorite DJs and if you've only had limited exposure to his talent then I highly recommend seeking out more then what I'm offering today! The guy has got a smooth way of riding a riddim and I've always found that his voice is just "bad ass," if you'll excuse my language.
Also in the interest of providing a little more information about Jah Thomas I've transcribed the text relating to Jah T from the book called "Reggae Inna Dance Hall Style" released in Finland in 1984. It's interesting to look at the article now, some 20 years later, and knowing what history has shown, and catch up with him at the beginning stages of his production career...
"Jah Thomas is one of today's top dance hall music producers. Apart from himself he has produced youths like Little John and Triston Palmer and several less famous singers. Jah Thomas loves old Studio One riddims and it was him who really revamped the Heavenless riddim with his Entertainment sung by Triston Palmer.
Triston Palma is a very good singer an' Jah Thomas is a very good writer. I really hear de first song wid 'im named A Class Girl in London an' de people used to move to dat song. I hear a couple of other songs an' I decide to work wid 'im. That was in 1981. A song named Run Around Woman and Shank I Sheck riddim, the next good seller dat one, released by Silver Camel an' me an' Toyan did a toasting on it. Triston Palma went to London an' come back to Jamaica an' we do a next album wid 'im. When he was in London I complete an album wid 'im after Entertainment mek big in 1981. When he come back me mek an album call Joker Smoker. I get the idea from a good friend associated wid people who beg you sensimilla an' get it an' beg you a rizla an' get dat an' still waan borrow your lighter. Me call 'im a joker smoker. Triston Palmer complete de album which I send up to Greensleeves. It was not a big seller, but I like de presentation an' de promotion dey give it. I like de tracks, I like dat album very much. It de most expensive album, but it no really mek good income. I tell you no lie. When I working wid Triston Palma 'im 'ave some good vibes, but at de moment I don't like de vibes. He has the voice, he just needs a good composition.
I like Studio One riddims. Dem precious to me from youth. I used to go a dance an' sometimes me mama locked me up over de weekend. I have to sleep in de kitchen. Most of de riddims used are old Studio One, Treasure Island and Matador riddims, and even Mudie from Spanish Town have some good Heptones, some good Dennis Walks. But most of de riddims I really get to like come from Studio One. When I listen to a selection on a turntable it have to be Studio One. Me favourite riddim is Heavenless. It got to be, ca dat prove de world dat I am a good writer, a good producer still, you know. I was in New York wid Tad's when I was let dat riddim an' I get de vibes, ca in New York most time in a dance fire shot, an' I come from New York wid de vibes an' write de tune in de New York feel, ca everybody dere want to mash up dance.
Right now I kinda step from Triston Palma to Michael Palma, ca Triston Palma is already big now. So I have to get a different Palma big, you understand. I can't just mek one man big, ca is a circle. A ghetto raise nuff music an' new youth, so I have to expose dem. I can't do everything one day. There's two tune coming up from Michael Palma now. I send de tapes to Greensleeves in London an' dem gwaan release soon dat. There's a tune call Ghetto Dance which is an original riddim an' anadda call Different Love which is a Sweet Talking, a Studio One riddim. Redone in Jah Thomas an' Roots Radix fashion. As soon as dem release you gwaan see more Michael Palma releases by other producers.
I mek several albums wid meself. Mi latest album Shoulder Move voiced two weeks ago. Right now de master man is on leave. I wait 'im fe get back an' master it. We're taking de photographs tomorrow morning fe de album. Everything planned already. It distribute by Sonic Sounds locally. I'm trying to sell it really... going to CBS now... it have tracks like Imitate, Imitate about dj's who come a dance an' imitate anadda man lyrics. When You Poor, is like... living as a poor is like a crime, a sin, you look pon de milk you can't buy a tin. Some reality lyrics. Most a de tracks are natural, t'ings dat you can really see. Tracks like Dance With Me, telling a girl to dance it an' mek it feel iry whether she a whitey, she a blackie or whether she a coolie or she a chiney. Dat mean dere's no colour prejudice in a dance. Tracks like Red Eye for corrupted people, like a man see your tape, 'im waan tek it from you. You call people like those red eye. They never work for a thing, they jus' waan steal you.
Financially right now, mi name not too big, but me 'ave de vibes. Anytime me get better financially it gonna be bigger label on de turntable than Midnight Rock. There's gonna be more instruments in the sound, but everytime the roots 'ave to be there. I really got to give de people de knowledge, so they don't 'ave fe get to de big college."
1. "Mr Barrister" - Dance Hall Stylee LP - Silver Camel
2. "Mister Walker" - Dance On The Corner LP - Midnight Rock
3. "Tribute To Moa Anbessa" w/Barrington Levy - Nigger Kojak 12"
4. "Send Me The Pillow" - Stop Yuh Loafin' LP - Greensleeves
5. "Seek And Find" - Midnight Rock Presents Reggae Veterans Vol.1 LP - Clocktower
6. "Dance Hall Connection" - Dance Hall Stylee LP - Silver Camel
7. "Feeding Of The 5000" - Tribute To Reggae King Bob N. Marley LP - Midnight Rock
8. "Best Dress" w/Flabba Holt - Sky High And The Mau Mau Origination CD - RAS
9. "Friday Night Jamboree" - Midnight Rock Presents Reggae Veterans Vol.1 LP - Clocktower
10. "Jah Jah Guidance" - Dance Hall Stylee CD - Silver Camel
11. "Ghetto Dance" - General For All Generals (various artists LP) - Hitbound
12. "Burial" w/Linval Thompson - Tads Disco 12"
13. "Bicycle Skank" - Stop Yuh Loafin' LP - Greensleeves
14. "Stereo Graph Style" - Strong Like Samson 12"
15. "Shoulder Move" - Total Recall Vol. 7 (various artists CD) - VP
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