Tuesday, February 04, 2014

Ukulele Joe Thomas

Meet Omaha's second most famous–and until now, mostly mysterious–ukulele player, Ukulele Joe Thomas.

Ukulele documentarian (rockumentarian? ukumentarian?Bill Robertson has been searching for information on Mr. Thomas for 11 years. He finally heard back from the Douglas County [Nebraska] Historical Society yesterday. From the Society's facebook page:
"Let me introduce you to Ukulele Joe Thomas, a native of New Orleans and longtime Omahan, where he worked as private chef for the Union Pacific, often for the organization's top management when they traveled. 
Joe was also a musician, singer, and songwriter, and on his travels with UP frequently appeared at radio stations along his route. He and his ukulele appeared constantly on Omaha radio from the 1930 to the 1950s. 
Locally, Ukulele Joe was known as the "singing chef," and he had turned his entire home kitchen into an impromptu concert hall."

(h/t Wm Preston Robertson)
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