Linval ‘Ashaka’ Thomas returns ... 40 years after

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

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KINGSTON, Jamaica -- It has been over 40 years since Linval Thomas recorded his first song, ‘Bachelor Boy’, for producer Prince Buster.

Thomas migrated to the United States in 1971 and served 22 years in that country's Air Force. He is back in Jamaica to fulfil his dream of recording an album at home.

"I'm in the right place, it feels great to be in 'yaad' working with some great musicians," said Thomas, who goes by the stage name Ashaka.

Veteran session drummer Leroy 'Horsemouth' Wallace and bass player Danny 'Axeman' Thompson are among the musicians Thomas has hooked up with for sessions at Tuff Gong studios in Kingston.

They are working on songs for an EP Thomas hopes will introduce him to a Jamaican audience.

Since retiring from the Air Force as a senior staff sergeant in 1993, Thomas has gone all out to revive the music career he put on hold when he left Jamaica.

In 2011, he released Time, his first album, which was followed by the six-track EP, ‘Ooh, Ooh Girl’.

Thomas grew up in the Fletcher's Land community of Kingston and attended Camperdown High School. It was while a student there that he did ‘Bachelor Boy’, a rocksteady number, for Buster.

Though he sang while in the US military, Thomas never recorded again until the early 1990s when he re-entered civilian life and settled in the remote midwest city of Belleville, Illinois.

Linval 'Ashaka' Thomas plans to release his latest EP in February.

Howard Campbell

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