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Tommy Thomas

With a gritty, gospel-bred tenor, Tommy Thomas doesn't skimp on punchy, electric, gut-driven blues -- which gives this followup to his 2000 debut, Working Man, such universal appeal. Ironically, Thomas's method of pushing product upon the masses is less conventional than the music itself: He avoids hustling for shelf space...
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With a gritty, gospel-bred tenor, Tommy Thomas doesn't skimp on punchy, electric, gut-driven blues -- which gives this followup to his 2000 debut, Working Man, such universal appeal. Ironically, Thomas's method of pushing product upon the masses is less conventional than the music itself: He avoids hustling for shelf space in locally owned record stores or soulless chains in favor of selling his discs through unlikely outlets like Pierre's Supper Club and C&B Auto Parts. It's certainly a refreshing solution to finding niche visibility in a market.

With traditional pedigree, this fiery Thorntonite (a street-busking transplant from Vicksburg, Mississippi), covers all the lowdown bases of the done-me-wrong ballgame, whether it's having to work three jobs to make the rent or finding foreign shoes under an all-too-familiar bed. Thankfully, the warm tones of Roy Roberts's Hammond organ and the backing of some exceptional local players make the derivative aspects of this straightforward offering ("What a Real Man Should Do" apes Bobby Bland's 1964 smash "Ain't Nothing You Can Do," for example) more of an afterthought than a liability.

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