Kim Thomas in cruise control


Kim Thomas in cruise control

Observer senior writer

Thursday, July 09, 2020

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For many fans of easy-listening ballads, Smokey Robinson's Cruisin' is the yardstick for that genre. Kim Thomas chose the 1979 standard to cover as her first single.

The reggae version, co-produced by her mentor Jackie Jackson and Willie Lindo, was released in June by the latter's HeavyBeat Records.

“It's one of my favourite songs. When Jackie Jackson came to me and asked about the songs I love most, Cruisin' came to mind,” she said.

Thomas has been lead singer for Jackson's band since 2018. It is the resident band at Hilton Rose Hall Resort and Spa in St James, her native parish.

Previously, Thomas was a member of Ennesty, a trio that performed in hotels such as Sandals, Beaches and Half Moon.

Typical of the hotel act, the songs she performs for mainly tourists are a blend of classic American and Jamaican songs, complemented by contemporary music from artistes like Chronixx and Etana.

After years of working hotel stages, Thomas welcomed the opportunity to record, which she discovered is an entirely different challenge.

“When you are recording you are in control. On stage, you are trying not to mess up and at the same time wondering if the people like you,” she said.

Thomas was guided on Cruisin' by two of Jamaica's most experienced musicians. Jackson, a bass guitarist, has played on countless hit songs including Girl I've Got A Date by Alton Ellis, Sweet and Dandy by Toots and The Maytals and Paul Simon's Mother and Child Reunion.

Lindo was a In-demand session guitarist at Federal Records in the 1970s. As a producer, his hits include What One Dance Can Do by Beres Hammond, Inseparable by Dennis Brown and Boris Gardiner's I Wanna Wake up With You.

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