Coconut Culture features singer Graham Nash of Crosby Stills and Nash, on back up vocals on track three The Navigator.
The CD was produced recorded and mixed my mixmaster Mike Shipley ( Don Henley-Shania Twain-Joni Mitchell-Faith Hill-Aerosmith, to name a few) Mike also plays all drums and percussion on the record.
Singer/songwriter/keyboard player and vocalist Michael Ruff co-writes two songs on Coconut Culture as well and plays keyboards and B3 organ.
Rick (The Bass Player) Rosas (Neil Young - Joe Walsh) plays bass on two tracks on Coconut Culture.
When asked what best describes the music of Allan Thomas think R & B: Rhythm and Beach! Steely Dan meets the Beach Boys.
Thomas' music adventure began in his native New York City when, at age 12, he joined an acappella vocal group, performing at high school dances, concerts, and parties. Later, utilizing his considerable guitar abilities to back his own solo vocals, he sat in with touring R&B bands at New York's Wagon Wheel and also the Peppermint Lounge. Soon after, at age 18, he signed his first record deal, releasing two singles on Scepter Records.
At 19, Thomas appeared on the coffee house circuit, first in New York's Greenwich Village, and then throughout Tennessee, Colorado, Oregon, and California. Soon after, he toured the country with vocalist Lynn Kellogg, playing rhythm guitar.
In 1971, Thomas' first album, "A Picture," was released by Sire Records. The record garnered enough sufficient critical attention in the music world to open some new doors, and Thomas soon began opening across the country for acts like Cannonball Adderly, Livingston Taylor, the Marc Almond Band, and Weather Report.
In 1972, Thomas was invited to improvise vocals on the Cannonball Adderly Quintet song "Behold," which appeared on their "Soul of the Bible" album and also featured Nat Adderly, Aierto, and George Duke. Following that effort, Thomas did improvisational singing with the quintet at the Troubadour and Lighthouse clubs in Southern California.
Subsequent European travels saw Thomas team up with vocalist Carole Cook, performing throughout England and Denmark. Returning to the US in 1974, the duo decided to marry and settle in Malibu, California, where they wrote, recorded, and performed together, often singing back-up vocals for other artists. From 1977 to 1978 they were staff songwriters for ABC Music in LA.
The couple's relationship ended in 1979, but, that same year, Thomas formed the Santa Monica Bay Band with a group of topnotch LA area studio and live players. Despite their talent and local appeal, however, the band failed to win a studio contract. In 1983, discouraged over the LA "rat-race" and needing new inspiration, Thomas moved to the Hawaiian Islands. It is there where he developed his new blend of music you hear on "The Island" and "Coconut Culture".
Thomas, now a favorite island performer, has appeared at numerous concerts, fundraisers, and private functions throughout the Hawaiian Islands.
Thomas' music, described by the artist himself as a modern amalgam of jazz, blues, R&B, and Latin, first gained attention in Hawaii when the well-known Beamer Brothers recorded his song "You Take my Breath Away" on their "Island Nights" album. The spotlight focused on his talents once again when Brian Kessler, now living in Oahu, wrote and produced the award-winning "Local Motion" jingles using Thomas as his lead singer.
In 1989, Allan Thomas contacted producer Stephen Barncard and over the next few months they created the album 'The Island ". The record, which is released on Thomas' own label, Black Bamboo Recordings, is a collection of Thomas' original tunes written and recorded during 1989-1990.
Not surprisingly, much of the album draws its inspiration from the beauty and tranquility of the Hawaiian Islands, according to Thomas. "But," he quickly adds, "a number of the songs are concerned with other themes, like a world spinning out of control; steamy, secret affairs; windsurfing and visions of global brotherhood." The album features an impressive array of vocal, instrumental, and song writing talents provided by Thomas and his collaborators.
Asked to comment on "The Island", Thomas said, "It proves to me that if you have a vision and keep it near, you can make it real." He also notes that Donald Fagen and Walter Becker of Steely Dan expressed his feelings best in their song" Deacon Blue" when they sang:
"I cried when I wrote this song. Sue me if I play too long. This brother is free. I'll be what I want to be."
The album, released on CD and cassette, was dedicated to Thomas' late stepfather Carl Thomas who gave him early encouragement, and to the late Rhonda Lynn Jerald, his former spouse and dear friend who provided much inspiration for the music.
In 1996, Thomas continued his prolific songwriting on his second Black Bamboo CD, "Coconut Culture", which departed from the jazz-based format on the first CD, and leaned toward a more traditional feel reflecting his love for the indigenous music of his adopted islands.
His songs have been covered in Hawaii by The Hawaiian Style Band, The Beamer Brothers, and Norman 'Kaawa' Soloman, among others. In 1999 two of the songs from Coconut Culture ('I'll Find You Yet' and 'Ka Wai Aloha') we're used in a feature film called 'Beyond Paradise', produced out of LA and fimed on the big island of Hawaii.
He continues to play locally sometimes with Graham Nash at local events, and also in Los Angeles, NYC, Port Townsend Wa.,Toronto and other places in North America, and is currently writing songs for his next CD, again exploring the world of altered tunings.
Allan can always be found surfing or windsurfing the waves on the North shore of Kauai and riding the air waves as DJ for his "Show With No Name" on KKCR public radio, 2:30 to 5PM every Wednesday. Hear him live online at http://www.kkcr.org.