Picks and Pans Review: Cry of the Prophets

updated 09/03/1990 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 09/03/1990 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Chris Thomas

It was Thomas's father, Louisiana blues-man Tabby Thomas, who first exhorted his Top 40-loving son to listen to some Jimi Hendrix for a change. That and a European tour with his dad in 1983, when the younger Thomas was 20 years old, helped him craft his firsthand knowledge of the Baton Rouge idiom and the influences of mainstream pop and soul into something all his own.

What guitarist-vocalist Thomas displays on his first major-label album is an amalgam of styles and influences—from Hendrix and Terence Trent D'Arby to the Beatles and Bob Marley—that variously sounds like all and none of the above. The 11-track offering includes the guitar-heavy cut "Heart & Soul," which has shades of the '70s Leslie West and Mountain and is more workmanlike than notable numbers such as "Wanna Die with a Smile on My Face" and "Last Real Man." Stronger are the less self-conscious "Help Us Somebody" and the pleasantly frenetic "All Nite Long."

Whether intentionally or not, Thomas's voice often sounds as if it is floating in the background instead of carrying the tune along up front. This gives the album, overall, an ethereal rather than a particularly bluesy or even soulful feel.

As yet more distant than masterful in his vocal delivery, Thomas nonetheless has concocted a Hendrix-drenched hybrid that his father, who still runs Tabby's Blues Box music club in Baton Rouge, can take pride in. (Sire/Hightone)

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