26 March 1917, Cayce, Mississippi, USA, d. 15 December 2001, Memphis, Tennessee, USA. A singer, dancer and entertainer, Thomas learned his trade as a member of the Rabbit Foot Minstrels, a vaudeville-inspired touring group. By the late 40s he was performing in several Memphis nightclubs and organizing local talent shows. B.B. King, Bobby Bland and Junior Parker were discovered in this way. When Kings career subsequently blossomed, Thomas replaced him as a disc jockey at the black-owned radio station WDIA and remained there until 1974, fronting the influential shows House Of Happiness and Special Delivery and acting as a mentor to many of the citys blues, soul and rock musicians.
Thomas began recording in the early 40s, and several releases appeared on Star Talent, Chess Records and Meteor before Bear Cat became a Top 3 US R&B hit. An answer to Big Mama Thorntons Hound Dog, it was released on Sun...