Crystal Thomas

Daddy B. Nice's #139 ranked Southern Soul Artist

Portrait of Crystal Thomas by Daddy B. Nice

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"All I Want Is You (w/ Big Pokey Bear)"

Crystal Thomas

To automatically link to Crystal Thomas's charted radio singles, awards, CD's and other references, go to "Crystal Thomas" in Daddy B. Nice's Comprehensive Index. - Chitlin' Circuit Southern Soul Music Guide

January 20, 2018: Originally posted in Daddy B. Nice's Artist Guide to Pokey Bear and Daddy B. Nice's New CD Reviews.

". . .But as good as these tracks are,

...(not to mention a couple of others that follow, especially "Floating Without A Paddle"), they still don't prepare you for the mesmerizing pull of the Pokey Bear/Crystal Thomas duet "All I Want Is You".

Listen to Big Pokey Bear and Crystal Thomas singing "All I Want Is You" on YouTube.

Crystal Thomas broke into southern soul a couple years ago accompanying Jeter Jones on record and tour, and she published an uneven debut album, Lyrical Gumbo, reviewed here in 2016. The finest single from the album was "Country Girl," but nothing on the album or even the single quite hints at the breathtaking confidence and authority and fluid easiness of Crystal Thomas's vocal on "All I Want Is You".

Crystal sings like Ella Fitzgerald might have sounded had she been born after rap. And the two of them--Pokey Bear and Crystal Thomas--together? Imagine a darker, bayou version of Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell. Beat Flippa's organ steams up the glass with bayou atmosphere while Pokey and Crystal volley back and forth like the bluesiest singers on the planet.

Crystal asks,

"Do you want money?"
"Do you want cologne?"
"Do you want a pair of patent leather shoes?

And Pokey says,

"Do you need diamonds?
"Do you need a car?"
"Do you need fancy things that make you feel like a star?"

All they need is each other, folks. And all you need is ears to take in the extraordinary groove and vocal back-and-forth. Pokey Bear's true forte'. Collaborative singing. "All I Want Is You" epitomizes everything that makes this album a keeper: energy, life, musicianship and blacker-than-midnight soul.

--Daddy B. Nice"

Buy Pokey Bear's BEAR SEASON CD at CD Baby.

Buy Pokey Bear's BEAR SEASON (EXPLICIT) CD at Amazon.

Buy Pokey Bear's BEAR SEASON CD at iTunes. - Chitlin' Circuit Southern Soul Music Guide

Originally posted on Daddy B. Nice's Corner:

Daddy B. Nice's Top 10 "BREAKING" Southern Soul Singles Preview For. . .

-------DECEMBER 2017-------

5. "All I Want Is You"-----Pokey Bear featuring Crystal Thomas

How does Sam Elliot say it in "The Big Lebowski"? "Blacker than a steer's tookus on a moonless night"? Crystal Thomas has that rare "vintage" voice, and her contribution to this duet is a tour de force.

Listen to Big Pokey Bear and Crystal Thomas singing "All I Want Is You" on YouTube. - Chitlin' Circuit Southern Soul Music Guide

--Daddy B. Nice

About Crystal Thomas

September 18, 2016:

CRYSTAL THOMAS: Lyrical Gumbo: The Essence Of Blues (Crystal Thomas/Jones Boy Ent.) Two Stars ** Dubious. Not much here.

Lackluster material and lack of focus torpedo the debut of the talented Crystal Thomas, a strong-lunged vocalist who has been touring the Louisiana chitlin' circuit with Jeter Jones. Jones, an up-and-coming southern soul singer with two albums (one produced by Eric "Smidi" Smith) under his belt, executive-produced, with Thomas herself doing the writing and some of the producing, along with Slick Ross, Tomi Gran and Gary Smith.

The album may hold more interest for straight blues fans. The young songstress's vocals boast a wonderful, deep-registered tone and potential gale-force delivery, although the latter isn't called for in this collection of songs. But there is nothing that meets the more exacting, what-have-you-done-for-me-lately? standards of the current southern soul fan.

A near-miss on Daddy B. Nice's "Top Ten" Singles the last two months, Crystal's ballad "Country Girl" is the one song in the set that emits real feeling. Yes, there are programmed horns, and the overall production is rudimentary. But "Country Girl" contains believable, personal emotion and a corresponding sense of place, and jives with the performance identity Crystal Thomas could attain, with perseverance, within the southern soul world.

Listen to Crystal Thomas singing "Country Girl" on YouTube.

The other two candidates for radio play and concert performance are the collaborations with Jeter Jones, "Something Something" and "Work It." With the promising lyrical hook--

I like your front
And I love your back.

--"Work It" nevertheless sputters too generically along a well-worn funk riff to merit time-and-again listens, while "Something Something" utilizes much the same chords and chord progressions as "Country Girl." And the voice-overs by Jones on both duets have an empty, almost off-putting bravado. (His contributions on this CD come off as a little too facile.) There's nothing on this CD, for example, as original (and yet restrained and authentic) as the Jeter Jones/Crystal Thomas duet on the new Beat Flippa Vol. 2 album:

Listen to Jeter Jones and Crystal Thomas singing "Them Country Girls"on YouTube.

The balance of the Crystal Thomas album is straight blues: "Somebody Else's Man," "Baby Don't Leave Me," "What I Been Looking For" and maybe the puzzling "Excuse Me Miss." Not really the happy hunting-grounds of the southern soul fan. Two ballads in the latter half of the disc--"I Can't Be" and "Cheating On Me"--go in a more pop direction and are better specimens of what Crystal can do--like the acapella gospel ending of "I Can't Be" and the CD-ending, head-turning, acapella-gospel fragment, "Until You Come Home To Me."

--Daddy B. Nice

Sample/Buy Crystal Thomas' LYRICAL GUMBO CD at CD Baby.

*********** - Chitlin' Circuit Southern Soul Music Guide

Honorary "B" Side

"ZBT Anthem (w/ Pokey Bear, Jeter Jones...)"

5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 
Sample or Buy All I Want Is You (w/ Big Pokey Bear) by Crystal Thomas
All I Want Is You (w/ Big Pokey Bear)

CD: Bear Season
Label: Ross Music Group

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Bear Season

5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 
Sample or Buy ZBT Anthem (w/ Pokey Bear, Jeter Jones...) by Crystal Thomas
ZBT Anthem (w/ Pokey Bear, Jeter Jones...)

CD: Trailride Music Vol. 1
Label: Music Access

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Trailride Music Vol. 1

4 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars 
Sample or Buy Country Girl by Crystal Thomas
Country Girl

CD: Lyrical Gumbo
Label: Crystal Thomas / Jones Boys

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Lyrical Gumbo

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