Album review
Love Of The Common People (The Best Of Nicky Thomas)
Nicky Thomas
19 - 07 - 2003

Tracking list

  1. Love Of The Common People (UK Mix)
  2. Have A Little Faith
  3. Suzanne Beware Of The Devil
  4. Run Nigel Run
  5. Lonely Feeling
  6. Lonely For Your Love
  7. Turn Back The Hands Of Time
  8. (Baby) Can I Change My Mind
  9. Images Of You
  10. God Bless The Children
  11. Tell It Like It Is
  12. Don't Touch Me
  13. Only A Child
  14. Let It Be
  15. London
  16. Mama's Song
  17. Come Home
  18. Rainy Night In Georgia
  19. I'll Be Waiting
  20. If I Had A Hammer
  21. Yesterday Man
  22. Doing The Moonwalk
  23. Lola
  24. Red Eye
  25. Love Of The Common People (JA Mix)
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)

Vocals : 4 Backing : 4 Production : 4 Sound quality : 5 Sleeve : 4

In the mid-seventies recognized acts such as Alton Ellis, Dandy Livingstone and Nicky Thomas were regarded too commercial by those reggae fans who were impressed by roots & culture acts like Culture, the Mighty Diamonds and the Gladiators. However, they were unaware that the 'pop reggae' performer, Nicky Thomas had worked as a labourer on the same building site as the credible Gladiators and played no small part in launching their career in music as he wrote and taught Gladiators' lead singer Albert Griffiths the lyrics to their Studio One classic, "Hello Carol". Nicky was born Cecil Thomas on 30th May 1944, in Fruitful Ville, Portland, Jamaica and lived up to the name of his birthplace having enjoyed a successful career until his mysterious and untimely demise in 1990. His break into music came when singer/producer Derrick Harriott produced the very popular ska flavored tune, "Run Mr Nigel Run", which appears for the first time on CD with this compilation. Also featured on this set is another Derrick Harriott production from the same session - the ultra rare song, "Come Home", sometimes known as "Gypsy". Whilst his work with Derrick Harriott set Nicky Thomas on the road to stardom, he found greater success with his subsequent sojourn with Joe Gibbs.
Nicky's collaboration with Gibbs resulted in a number of hits, including "God Bless The Children", "Don't Touch Me", "Mama's Song", "Have a Little Faith", a version of the Beatles song "Let It Be" and the innovative "Red Eye", all of them featured on this set. The same goes for some of the soulful cover versions Nicky Thomas also recorded around this time, which include Tyrone Davis' "Turn Back The Hands Of Time", Brook Benton's "Rainy Night In Georgia", Joe Simon's "(Doing The) Moonwalk" and the traditional folk song made famous by Peter, Paul & Mary, "If I Had A Hammer". In the summer of 1970, Nicky Thomas' interpretation of the Everly Brother's tune "Love Of The Common People" took him to number nine in the UK pop chart. Those that prefer this tune with strings or those who favour the song inna Jamaican stylee (raw and without strings) are served well as both versions are included here. Nicky continued to record in a commercial vein scoring minor hits with "Images Of You" and "I'll Be Waiting". He also released "Suzanne Beware Of The Devil" produced by Dandy Livingstone, but unfortunately for Nicky it was the producer's own vocal cut that became a UK Top 20 hit when it was released in 1972. Also released around this time was the Joe Gibbs produced rarity, "Baby Can I Change My Mind" and a great version of "Lonely For Your Love". In 1974, Nicky released a cover version of the Kinks' pop hit "Lola", alongside a version of Curtis Mayfield's "Only A Child". He was still active at the height of the punk phenomenon and released a tale of his adopted city, "London". Just as interest in his music was gathering momentum, Nicky's life came to an abrupt end. The precise circumstances surrounding his death seem confused to this day.
Even though not everyone will be overly fond of some of the cover versions of pop hits included here, "Love Of The Common People" is a well worth collection of tunes that all in all provides a fine overview of the singer's work.

Teacher & Mr. T.