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Thomas Jefferson Kaye

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Thomas Jefferson Kaye - Thomas Jefferson Kaye - 1973 - Probe

Thomas Jefferson Kaye was born in 1940 in S. California as Thomas Jefferson Kontos. He changed his name to Thomas Jefferson Kaye at a young age. As well as being a great songwriter, Tommy also was a very successful record producer. He produced albums for Mike Bloomfield, Dr. John and John Hammond, and Gene Clark. In New York, Tommy was considered a genius in R&B, blues, pop, and Top Forty. He was once described as "one of the most serious groovemasters of contemporary music, from funky New Orleans style on". ["In fact, much of it reminds me of the first Manassas album, an amalgam of beats, sounds, guitars, piano, harmonies and grooves, but with a strong songwriting bent. Highlights include the infectious "The Door is Still Open," which has an early Little Feat feel to it, and "Learning How to Fly," with its soaring harmonies a should-have-been radio hit". © Todd and In Charge (Miami, FL) © 1996-2011, Amazon.com, Inc. or its affiliates http://www.amazon.com/Thomas-Jefferson-Kaye-First-Grade/dp/B0000011UQ] He died in september 1994. "Thomas Jefferson Kaye" is a forgotten album now, but it's a good album, despite its lack of commercial impact. The album has a strong Steely Dan connection. The album includes Donald Fagen, Walter Becker, Jeff 'Skunk' Baxter, and David Palmer. The albums producer, Gary Katz even contributes to backing vocals on "Collection Box". Many people think that TJK's "First Grade" was his debut album, but this s/t album preceded "First Grade". Try and listen to his "Not Alone" album and check out Tommy's "First Grade" album @ TJKAYE/1STGR


1 The Body Song - Thomas Jefferson Kaye 4:15
2 Collection Box - Thomas Jefferson Kaye, Joanne Vent 4:04
3 The Door Is Still Open - Thomas Jefferson Kaye 3:26
4 Learning How to Fly - Thomas Jefferson Kaye, Kenny Vance, Marty Joe Kupersmith, Sandy Yaguda 3:34
5 I'll Be Leaving Her Tomorrow - Thomas Jefferson Kaye, B. Wagman 4:22
6 Hole in the Shoe Blues - Thomas Jefferson Kaye 5:20
7 Snake in the Grass - Thomas Jefferson Kaye 5:01
8 Thanks for Nothing - Thomas Jefferson Kaye 4:29
9 Hoe Bus - Thomas Jefferson Kaye 5:02


Thomas Jefferson Kaye - Acoustic Guitar, Vocals
Rick Derringer - Electric & Acoustic Guitar
Jeff 'Skunk' Baxter - Electric Guitar on "Thanks for Nothing"
Bobby Black - Steel Guitar
Rick Slossen - Drums
Joe Frank Corrola - Bass, Backing Vocals
Randy Hobbs - Bass
Walter Becker - Bass on "I'll Be Leaving Her Tomorrow" and "Hole in the Shoe Blues"
Tom Salisbury - Piano
Victor Feldman - Percussion
Clydie King, Venetta Fields, Shirley Matthews, Dorothy Morrison, Diane Morrison, Micki St. Clair, Mark Springer, Chris Williamson - Background Vocals
Donald Fagen - Background Vocals on "The Door Is Still Open", "Learning How to Fly", and "I'll Be Leaving Her Tomorrow"
David Palmer - Background Vocals on "The Door Is Still Open", "Learning How to Fly", and "I'll Be Leaving Her Tomorrow"
Gary Katz - Background Vocals on "Collection Box"


The late Thomas Jefferson Kaye was a producer, a songwriter and a musician. Born Thomas Jefferson Kontos, he decided to change his last name to Kaye in 1958 when he became the head of A&R at Scepter Records at the young age of 18. Everyone simply called him Tommy. He produced hits by such recording stars as Three Dog Night, Jay and the Americans, Bobby Neuwirth, ? and the Mysterians,The Shirelles and Link Wray. Working in New York, Tommy was considered a genius in R&B, blues, pop, and Top Forty, Tommy had never worked with folk music until working with Loudon Wainwright on the album Loudon Wainwright III. The record climbed to # 1 in the LP charts with the single "Dead Skunk" topping the singles chart. At the same time Tommy had a band "White Cloud" which he used with everyone he produced. In 1972 they released an album, in a beautiful snakeskin textured gatefold cover, on the obscure Good Medicine label. As well as their own solo projects the band played all over the Village, and back in those days the likes of Bobby Neuwirth and Bob Dylan would come around to see them play. Tommy's next career move took him to San Francisco to produce an album by Link Wray and he fell in love with Wally Heider's studio, the climate, the cable cars and Jerry Garcia. After completeing the Link Wray album, Tommy flew down to LA to meet up with his by now good friend Bobby Neuwirth. They spent a month hanging out and fueling their 24 hour days with cocaine, speed, pills, and alcohol before starting to work on Neuwirth's album. Kaye remembered "The hours are crazy, the alcohol thing is crazy, the pills are crazy, the people are crazy." Tommy also found time to record his own albums and in 1973 his self-titled first album was released. On the second album, First Grade, the idiosyncrasies of Kaye's voice become an asset and the record reached a small-scale perfection rarely found in pop. Kaye's third and final record, "Not Alone" was an all-star affair including among others Eric Clapton, Dr. John, Steve Miller, Rick Danko, Walsh, Don Henley and Robby Krieger. Twenty years later and diabetic, Tommy was a member of AA but couldn't completely quit drinking and smoking. Even though he underwent numerous surgeries, a result of the combination of diabetes and constricting capillaries, Tommy never lost his boyish look or his glibness. His final days were spent at the home of Marty Kupersmith. Suffering from pain due to toxemia, Tommy asked Marty for some Tylenol and the next day the bottle was found empty. Tommy died in St. Anthony's Hospital in Warwick, N.Y., September of 1994. © 2003-2011 Myspace Inc. All Rights Reserved http://latino.myspace.com/kontos_drums/blog/35894994


Thomas Jefferson Kaye carried on a close musical collaboration with Gene Clark through the mid-'70s. After stints in a group called White Cloud and as a sideman for Loudon Wainwright, he produced the supersession Triumvirate (CBS, 1973) for Mike Bloomfield, Dr. John and John Hammond. Around the same time, Kaye released two solo LPs, Thomas Jefferson Kaye (ABC/Dunhill, 1973) and First Grade (ABC/Dunhill, 1973). Both featured Walter Becker and Donald Fagen of Steely Dan prominently. Kaye then produced Gene Clark's baroque No Other (Asylum, 1974). The two remained close during the next few years, and Kaye then produced the next Clark LP, the country-rocker Two Sides to Every Story (RSO, 1977). Kaye was then part of the K.C. Southern Band (Kaye-Clark, get it?) until Clark reunited with McGuinn in late '77. Kaye and Clark co-wrote "Release Me, Girl," which turned up on McGuinn Clark & Hillman (Capitol, 1979). © 1997 Tim Connors. All rights reserved. http://www.ebni.com/byrds/relassociates09.html


Anonymous said...

Thank you for both T.J.Kaye albums, I couldn't find them anywhere. Great "Steely" sounding country rock!!

brambleman said...

Thanks dude, you're the best.

Eric said...

Hi Paul, This is the album of his that I have a review of from when it was orig. released.
I recall mentioning something about him in one of our prev. convos.

Danneau said...

I bought this used at Rohan's Records in 1973 and still have it along with a CD I bought when I was able to locate one: this set of recordings sets a tone and speaks eloquently about a ton of stuff, all the while engaging musically through the intervention of some fine musicians. I bought other Kaye stuff and was disappointed, but this continues to be a part of the listening program. Thanks for putting it in front of people.

A.O.O.F.C said...

Hi,Danneau.TJK was definitely eloquent and had the support of some of the best musicians available. What other Kaye stuff did you buy? Thanks for comment, & TTU soon

A.O.O.F.C said...

Hi,Eric. Yes. I remember the convo vaguely. Was it a comment or e-mail? I'd like to read it again. I've probably deleted the e-mail!! TTU soon

A.O.O.F.C said...

Hi,Anonymous. You probably know by now that "Iv'e got the Steely Dan t-shirt", and I'm interested in anything Dan related! Thanks for comment. TTU soon

A.O.O.F.C said...

Hi,brambleman. Thanks for the compliment! I get a lot of help! TTU soon

Mike said...

Speaking of Steely Dan nuggets, perhaps the most sought-after would be 'Proud To Be Your Slave,' recorded by Diamond Head. Someone over at Dandom's Bluebook got a vinyl copy and put up a teaser snippet of the bridge(?)/chorus. As well, Woody Herman's cover of 'Deacon Blues' is now up on YouTube.

For a long time, only people with Google accounts or Open IDs could post here. Did something happen?

Anonymous said...

This is a rare gem. Thanks for posting.

A.O.O.F.C said...


A.O.O.F.C said...

Hi,Mike. There's an audio snippet of PTBYS on the STEELY DAN DATABASE site. I have the Woody Herman version of DB on a disc somewhere. Got it on Limewire. I know very little about YouTube. I look at it occasionaly, but I've never posted there. Cheers,Mike! TTU soon

sunny15blue said...

many thanks-a lot of steely dan fans have been looking for the tjk albums[besides me!]

A.O.O.F.C said...

Hi, sunny15blue! There's still a few out there hiding. But I'll track'em down!!Thanks & ttu soon

Anonymous said...

Fantastic album....t.j.k. is ace.....thanks for the share very much appreciated....cheers.

A.O.O.F.C said...

No probs. Thanks, A....P

Rob said...

Any chance you could repost this? Link is dead. Thanks.

A.O.O.F.C said...

Hi,Rob. I don't have this album anymore but I saw a link @ http://woodenbowlvalue1.blogspot.ie/2013/08/thomas-jefferson-kaye-1973.html

I'm not sure about bitrate, etc, but check it out. Thanks...Paul