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Tom Jans
Press Cuttings

"print the legend" ... James Stewart

 

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Biography
from Columbia Records

Columbia Press and Public Information, Los Angeles
1976

Tom Jans

 (photo to be added)

 

Tom grew up on a ranch near San Jose, California. His family enjoyed music and avocados, and Tom began writing at a relatively young age. The first records he ever bought were Johnny Horton’s “Battle of New Orleans” and Rufus Thomas’ “Walking the Dog”.

 After working for a number of years on the California club circuit, Tom moved to New York City for six months; living in the Village, writing, reading, performing and soaking up ideas. Having absorbed sufficient New York atmosphere, Tom moved to Nashville. “…to get into a different climate, I’d been living in California nearly all my life, and wanted to spend some time strumming a banjo, smelling magnolias and eating biscuits.

 All of which he did. But more important, Tom formed a series of friendships that led to the recording of his country-flavoured album, Tom Jans, for A&M.

One of the songs on that album, “Loving Arms, was discovered by Rita Coolidge, recorded by herself and Kris Kristofferson, and later by Dobie Gray, Elvis Presley, and more than 100 other performers.

Another Tom Jans composition, “Out of Hand” became a #1 single for country singer Gary Stewart.

Tom was brought to Columbia Records at the urging of label executive Don Ellis, who had been impressed by the singer/composer’s work on A&M”

Tom’s next album, Through the Eyes of an Only Child (sic), was released on Columbia in 1975. Produced by Lowell George of Little Feat, the album displayed a somewhat harder edge to Tom’s sound than his fan’s may have expected. The album sold well, and increased Tom’s reputation in the music community.

Tom’s second Columbia album, Dark Blonde, was “concept”; but one of theme rather than strict continuity. “My grandmother once told my mother that I was the darkest blonde she had ever seen”, Tom sort-of explains. “It was a long time before I understood what that meant. This album is an exploration of what caused her to say that of me –I guess she was talking about my perversity rather than the color of my hair”.

Dark Blonde was produced by Joe Wissert, whose other current credits include Earth, Wind and Fire and Boz Scaggs. The supporting musicians are members of Tom’s own band, plus special guests Bill Payne, Ernie Watts and Mike Utley.

Like many young, California-based songwriters, Tom deals with his surroundings and his background, in musical terms. His perspective is his own, as distinct is his personality.

While he write many serious songs, he doesn’t take himself all that seriously. Nor for that matter, his friends. Take for example, the lyric of to one as-yet unrecorded Jans composition

“Avocado,
What makes you think you’re so holy?
You’re just guacamole
To me …”


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photo credit:
tom sheehan London 20th May 1977

This page updated October 2003 by Geoff
GMGough@clara.net