Revolutionary, spiritual jazz from Houston, reissued for the first time – the second in a series of four expanded reissues of drummer and bandleader Bubbha Thomas’s lauded catalog.
Extensive booklet detailing Bubbha and his band’s story, replete with never-published photos. Presented in both the issued stereo and previously unissued mono mixes as a double LP. Download card for WAV files and videos of 1970s performances included.
Drummer, bandleader and activist Bubbha Thomas had toured America with R&B revues, served as a session musician for Peacock and Back Beat Records, and played straight ahead jazz with legends before the political and social upheaval of the late 1960s led him to a path first charted by Coltrane. Fancy Pants is his second LP with his Lightmen band and, like the deep-set, maverick jazz issued by the likes of Tribe and Strata East, is amongst the best of the 1970s jazz underground, a collective voice of resistance to the musical and cultural status quo.
This is the first time that Fancy Pants has seen reissue, and it is presented in both the issued stereo and previously unissued mono mixes as a double LP. This reissue was remastered from Bubbha’s original master tapes. Bubbha and his band’s story is told in great detail by Houston music and cultural historian Lance Scott Walker (Houston Rap / Houston Rap Tapes) and Now-Again’s Eothen Alapatt, in a booklet that contains dozens of unpublished photographs. Download card for WAV files and videos of numerous 1970s performances also included.
All four of Bubbha’s 1970s albums will see reissue as expanded albums, with previously unreleased mixes, alternate and unreleased versions, once per quarter, through the end of 2018. Watch a primer of what’s to come below.
Now-Again Records celebrated the reissue of The Lightmen Plus One’s Spiritual Jazz classic Fancy Pants with a pop-up record shop at Rappcats. The sale was hosted by Egon, with records sourced from Bubbha Thomas and his Lightmen bandmates – saxophonist Doug Harris and bassist Don Patterson’s collections – and contained both one-of-a-kind rarities and classic soul, funk, jazz and rock LPs and 45s that inspired Thomas and his band. And of course albums by the Lightmen band itself. Don Patterson himself was at the space, talking jazz and signing any copies of the albums purchased from the collections.
2:28 Creative Music
8:32 Free As You Wanna Be
5:15 High Pockets
4:34 Talk Visit
4:36 May ’67
5:35 # 109 Psychosomatic
3:08 Luke 23:32 – 49
2:28 Creative Music (Mono)
8:31 Free As You Wanna Be (Mono)
5:14 High Pockets (Mono)
4:36 Talk Visit (Mono)
4:33 May ’67 (Mono)
5:36 #109 Psychosomatic (Mono)
3:08 Luke 23:32 – 49 (Mono)
This anthology produced by Eothen Alapatt. Associate production by Mark Taylor. Liner notes by Lance Scott Walker and Eothen Alapatt, with a contribution by Flash Parks.
Tape and vinyl transfers, restoration and remastering by Dave Cooley for Elysian Masters, Los Angeles, USA. Select tape transfers by Len Horowitz for History of Recorded Sound, Los Angeles, USA.
Lacquered by Chris Potter at Electric Mastering, London, UK.
Art Direction by Errol Richardson.
Licensed courtesy Bubbha Thomas.
2LP. NA 5150. Part of the Bubbha Thomas & The Lightmen Creative Music: The Complete Works anthology.
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Born in Houston’s fourth ward, Bubbha Thomas attended Booker T. Washington Senior High School where he served as a captain of the school band’s drum section – under the direction of one Conrad O. Johnson, who later gained fame as leader of the aforementioned Kashmere High School Stage Band. He earned a scholarship to Wiley College where he became captain of the school’s band and founded his own jazz outfit, The Lightmen. Before graduating with a BA in music, Bubbha led his band to the Newport Jazz Festival and released a spiritual debut on Houston based Judnell Records (home of The Chocolate Glass, for anyone keeping score) entitled “Free As You Wanna Be.”
1971 saw the release of his second album, “Fancy Pants,” an album that first demonstrated that the young Bubbha understood the funk movement (with the song “Ashie”). After releasing a few more 45s on Judnell (including the incredible “Wench”), he formed his own imprint, Lightin’ Records, and pursued his recording dreams from there. In 1972, he released what many consider his masterpiece – “Energy Control Center – ” the album that contained the backbeat-grounded “Phantom” which Egon compiled on The “Funky 16 Corners” in 2001. In 1975, now recording under the name Bubbha Thomas and The Lightmen, he released his altogether funkiest album, “Country Fried Chicken.” Thomas continued releasing albums into the 1980s, and he records on the Lightin’ label to this day.