Memorials may be made to:
"The Tommy Thompson Memorial
Fund" for the curriculum in Folklore, UNC English Dept., The Arts and Sciences
Foundation, CB #6115, UNC-Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-6115
"Scholarship Fund", Charles
House Association, 109 Hillcrest Ave., Carrboro, NC 27510
The Duke Family Support Program,
Box 3600, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC 27710.
Craver is posting a list
of radio and news tributes to Tommy Thompson. Check his list
for shows yet to be broadcast, many of which can be heard on the web.
Mike also writes about the funeral services and the wonderful music played
by Tommy's friends.
Tommy Thompson was born in
West Virginia, in 1937. He graduated from Kenyon College in 1959 and spent
the next four years as a Coast Guard Officer in New Orleans. During this
time he was privileged to hear many of the great old time Jazz players.
His Coast Guarding duties required occasional visits to bayou country,
and there he was introduced to the noble crawfish and the sound of Cajun
In 1963, Thompson entered
the graduate program in Philosophy at the University of North Carolina
at Chapel Hill. He divided his time between five-string banjo and academia,
specializing in drop-thumb clawhammer and conceptual analysis. In 1966,
he formed the Hollow Rock String Band, a group devoted to the old time
dance tunes of the southern mountains. The Hollow Rock band won many prizes
at fiddlers conventions in the late sixties, and in 1971, Thompson won
the World Champion Old Time Banjo Contest at Union Grove, North Carolina.
With Jim Watson and Bill Hicks, in 1972, he formed the original Red Clay
Ramblers, a three-man string band devoted to styles of early recorded country
music. Mike Craver and Jack Herrick soon became members of this group.
The Ramblers joined the cast of DIAMOND STUDS, a musical about Jesse James,
and spent the first seven months of 1975 performing Off-Broadway in New
York City. Thompson was singled out by the New York Times for his performances
as Cole Younger and Jesse James' mother, Zerelda Samuels.
Since their first tour in
the fall of 1975, the Ramblers, now a five-man band, have traveled throughout
the United States and Canada, Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. Thompson
has composed many songs performed and recorded by the Red Clay Ramblers
and other artists. Tommy last performed with the Red Clay Ramblers at the
Carrboro ArtsCenter in September 1994. In addition to his legacy in RCR
and Hollow Rock String Band music, Tommy's credits include the following:
Hollow Rock String Band 1966
Red Clay Ramblers 1972 -
Life on the Mississippi
The Last Song of John Proffit
Ear Rings - 1986
Lie of the Mind - 1985
The Merry Wives of Windsor,
Texas - 1988
Far North -1988
Silent Tongue - 1992
Daughter, Jesse L. Thompson
Son, Tom A. Thompson
The Red Clay Ramblers
Visitation: 6-8 Monday 1/27/2003
at Hall Wynne 1113 West Main St., Durham, NC
Services: 7 pm Tuesday at St.
Joseph's Episcopal Church, 1902 W. Main St., Durham, NC (286-1064)