Hociel Thomas

Hociel Thomas (July 10, 1904 – August 22, 1952) was an American blues singer in the classic female blues style.

She was born in Houston, Texas. Her father, George W. Thomas, was a musician, songwriter, and music publisher. About 1916 she relocated to New Orleans, Louisiana to live with her aunt, the blues singer Sippie Wallace. She began performing, often with Sippie Wallace, at local parties and in the Storyville red-light district. She moved to Chicago ca. 1924, where she worked in local clubs and theatres until the early 1930s. In 1925 she recorded for Gennett Records, and in 1925–26 she recorded several sides for the Okeh label. Her accompanists on the Okeh recordings included Louis Armstrong and her teenaged uncle Hersal Thomas, whose piano is heard on "Fish Tail Dance" and four other sides.

During the years of the Great Depression her career diminished, and she worked outside the field of music. In the early 1940s she moved to Oakland, California. In 1946 she recorded seven songs with Mutt Carey for the Circle label, which were her last recordings. She worked with Kid Ory's Orchestra in San Francisco In 1948.

In 1948 or 1949, she engaged in a brawl with one of her sisters in which she lost her eyesight and her sister was killed. Charged with manslaughter, she was tried and acquitted. She died of heart disease on August 22, 1952.

Birth and Death Data: Born July 10th, 1904 (Houston), Died August 22nd, 1952 (Oakland)

Date Range of DAHR Recordings: 1923 - 1926

Roles Represented in DAHR: contralto, lyricist, composer, songwriter

Recordings

Company Matrix No. Size First Recording Date Title Primary Performer Description Role Audio
OKeh 8491 10-in. Oct. 1923 Shorty George blues Eddie Heywood ; Sippie Wallace Female vocal solo, with piano lyricist  
OKeh 9167 10-in. May 1925 Worried down with the blues Hersal Thomas ; Hociel Thomas Female vocal solo, with piano vocalist, contralto, songwriter  
OKeh 9168 10-in. May 1925 Fish tail dance Hersal Thomas ; Hociel Thomas Female vocal solo, with piano vocalist, contralto  
OKeh 9471 10-in. 11/11/1925 Gambler's dream Hociel Thomas Female vocal solo, with jazz/dance ensemble vocalist, contralto  
OKeh 9472 10-in. 11/11/1925 Sunshine baby Hociel Thomas Female vocal solo, with jazz/dance ensemble vocalist, contralto  
OKeh 9473 10-in. 11/11/1925 Adam and Eve had the blues Louis Armstrong's Jazz Four ; Hociel Thomas Female vocal solo, with jazz/dance band vocalist, contralto  
OKeh 9474 10-in. 11/11/1925 Put it where I can get it Louis Armstrong's Jazz Four ; Hociel Thomas Female vocal solo, with jazz/dance ensemble vocalist, contralto  
OKeh 9475 10-in. 11/11/1925 Wash woman blues Hociel Thomas Female vocal solo, with jazz/dance ensemble vocalist, contralto  
OKeh 9476 10-in. 11/11/1925 I've stopped my man Hociel Thomas Female vocal solo, with jazz/dance ensemble vocalist, contralto  
OKeh 9519 10-in. 2/24/1926 Deep water blues Louis Armstrong ; Hersal Thomas ; Hociel Thomas Female vocal solo, with trumpet and piano composer, lyricist, vocalist, contralto  
OKeh 9520 10-in. 2/24/1926 G'wan I told you (She just won't have) Louis Armstrong ; Hersal Thomas ; Hociel Thomas Female vocal solo, with trumpet and piano vocalist, contralto  
OKeh 9521 10-in. 2/24/1926 Listen to Ma Louis Armstrong ; Hersal Thomas ; Hociel Thomas Female vocal solo, with trumpet and piano lyricist, composer, vocalist, contralto  
OKeh 9522 10-in. 2/24/1926 Lonesome hours Louis Armstrong ; Hersal Thomas ; Hociel Thomas Female vocal solo, with trumpet and piano composer, lyricist, vocalist, contralto  

Citation

Discography of American Historical Recordings, s.v. "Thomas, Hociel," accessed April 14, 2021, https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/109151.

Thomas, Hociel. (2021). In Discography of American Historical Recordings. Retrieved April 14, 2021, from https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/109151.

"Thomas, Hociel." Discography of American Historical Recordings. UC Santa Barbara Library, 2021. Web. 14 April 2021.

DAHR Persistent Identifier

URI: https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/109151

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