Ernest Thompson (in the picture's center), a blind multi-instrumentalist, is mainly forgotten today, although he was one of the first southern mountain muscians to record. But that wasn't all - many of the songs he recorded became later standards in country music. Thompson was born in 1892 and lost his ability to see because of an accident in a sawmill. He then attented a school for the Blinds and played on the streets to earn some money. He was spotted by Williams Parks of Columbia Records in 1924 and recorded his first session in April of that year in New York, which produced "Are You from Dixie" and other songs. Do you remember the mysterious "Charlie Jones" I presented you two weeks ago with "Old Dan Tucker" and "Snow Deer"? That was maybe Ernest Thompson! Although this pseudonym isn't listed anywhere, it's possible he's the same person, because Thompson also recorded "Snow Deer" (not "Old Dan Tucker") and many of his sides were also issued under pseudonyms on Harmony and Velvet Tone. Eva Davis, a musician who accompanied Thompson to New York, was also known as Eva Jones. However, Thompson's records didn't sold well and after another session in September 1924, Columbia dropped him. It was not until 1930, that Thompson recorded again - this time for Gennett. From the 14 recorded numbers, only two were issued. This was the last time Thompson went into a studio. He got married in 1931 and moved to Baltimore, Maryland. Ernest Thompson died in 1961 in High Point, North Carolina.
Here are two songs of Thompson (both recorded for Columbia in 1924):
1. Frankie Baker
2. Lightning Express