James “Son” Thomas

James “Son” Thomas (October 14, 1926 – June 26, 1993) was an American Delta blues musician, gravedigger and sculptor from Leland, Mississippi.

Thomas was born in Eden, Mississippi on October 14, 1926. While working in the fields, he began listening to blues on the radio. As a self-taught guitarist, he learned to play songs from older blues guitarists Elmore Davis and Arthur “Big Boy” Crudup. He then worked as a gravedigger in Washington County.

Thomas became known after appearing in films made by the Center for Southern Folklore in the 1970s. He appeared in the films Delta Blues Singer: James “Sonny Ford” Thomas, Give My Poor Heart Ease: Mississippi Delta Bluesmen, and Mississippi Delta Blues. In the 1970s, Eddie Cusic performed with Thomas at regular engagements. Together they recorded “Once I Had a Car”, which is included on the compilation album Mississippi Delta & South Tennessee Blues (1977). In the 1980s, Thomas recorded internationally.

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