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Caribbean

Published on September 12th, 2014 | by Peter Ray Blood Trinidad Guardian Newspapers

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HOLLY THOMAS – The Voice is no more

When I remember Holly Thomas, I recall his soothing bass voice on the radio on a Sunday morning, asking, “Who loves you, baby?” Also, I remember him admonishing those in the kitchen preparing Sunday lunch, reminding all that callaloo required swizzling and must not be pureed in a blender. Like some of his colleagues in the era of the 80s, including Rennie Bishop, Billy Reece, Jim Sutherland and Phill Simmons, Thomas had a distinctive voice and manner of broadcasting that endeared listeners to him and his programmes.

Having made a name for himself in the New York tri-state area, initially with Ken Webb on New York’s WBLS frequency, and subsequently on WLIB, Thomas returned home and hitched his wagon to Trinidad Broadcasting Company’s Studio 730 in 1982. He worked for 15 years in the United States and, after a stint on Radio 730 transferred to Radio Nine Five in 1988, making his Magnificent 7 programme, specialising in “soft jazz,” a must-listen-to feature.

Simmons, fondly remembered as “the Thrill” on the TBC network, left Radio 610 to join Radio 730. He said: “Holly and I worked together when I returned to Radio Trinidad 730. He was one of the last of the ‘real breed of radio people’. What we have today is actually a cheap copy of what we used to have. Holly stood for quality and professionalism, from way back in the callaloo days on a Sunday morning on Magnificent 7. In fact, Mavis John’s hit single, Jazz in the Callaloo, was inspired by Holly.

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