Gene Thomas ~ the original

Texas Songwriter & Singer

Forgotten Singers and Songwriters ? Gene Thomas!

Posted by Darlene on July 14, 2010 at 9:11 PM

-This article was originally posted on Russ & Gary's "The Best Years of Music"

Forgotten Singers and Songwriters – Gene Thomas!

July 11, 2010


Gary: I do not know whether anyone reads my little stories, but I think this one is interesting. I own a series of CD’s called the “The Golden Age of American Rock and Roll“. Now I was transferring some of the music on Volume 5 to MP3′s (this series is excellent and has some rare songs) when I found something confusing.

 Let’s be honest up front; I had transferred some music to mp3s. But as I was putting the CDs back in their cabinet, I noticed a track listed on the back of the CD cover called “Sometimes” by Dale & Grace.

 Now, if only I had looked at the liner notes for the CD, a “mistake” I am about to share with you would not have happened; but in the end it turned out to be a good mistake.

 Playing the mp3 “Sometimes” did not sound like Dale & Grace! Windows Media Player said the writer was Gene Thomas, so this got me going and I started some investigation. Well, after a large number of hours I discovered that this song was actually written and recorded by Gene Thomas in 1961, not Dale & Grace.

 There is very little on the Internet about Gene Thomas, so I broadened my search to include “Facebook”. Then, on a whim I sent a facebook message to a Gene Thomas and would you believe I found the correct person!

So what I am about to post to our Blog is really, Gene’s very own words and comments. I have never met Gene, but he has been very kind and forthcoming to me, a total stranger, and that says a lot about his character.

Forgotten Singers and Song Writers

Gene Thomas

Gene Thomas working the crowd

A personal email from Gene Thomas


to me, Gary Copeland:


I was born in Palestine ,TX.(at home) Dec. 4th ,1938. father was a carpenter, among other things. Grew up on the move, as my family moved a lot, following work. changed schools constantly & after parents divorced when I was 12, my father was awarded custody of my sister & I. Lost interest in school. Ran off to live with my Mother in a small E.Texas town. Eventually dropped out of school in the ninth. Worked odd jobs as a teen in the 50′s. Having become intrigued with music as a young boy,I left to come back to Houston to play music. Not knowing how to go about recording nor finding any hope. Gave up & married. One day while visiting my -then wife’s-cousin, he heard me ‘plinking’ on his wife’s new organ, & asked if I’d like to cut a record. I said “Of course” & basically forgot about it. Later however, we did go to a local studio where we recorded “Sometime” which I had written a couple of nights before.(March 7, 1961-recording date)

 Long , long story short. no one in Houston ,TX. would play it. After a couple of months we took it to a small station (Texas city) From there it made it’s way to KPAC , a station that covered a large area.(Beaumont, Pt.Arthur,Orange, Tx.) Made # 1 in 3 weeks on their top 20. from there it spread to become # 1 in all major Tx. cities.

 All this time I was working as a shipping clerk. Our distributor set up a deal with United Artists. the song had played out in the gulf coast by then. Still, with little promotion , it crept it’s way to a wide area -slowly. By Oct. 61, it had hit in California,and in such diverse places as Jamaica ,where it was # 1.

 It eventually reached # 53 in Billboard Pop charts., in spite of lack of momentum. Roy Orbison heard it on one of his trips to the Houston area & contacted U.A. & asked to produce a session on me. And did —one in 62 & one in 63. We had little luck tho. One “Baby’s Gone” reached the 80′s (don’t recall the exact #) .He pretty well gave up ,due to lack of promotion by U.A. (It was # 1 for 5 weeks in Houston for instance)

 Back in Houston, I began focusing more on writing, due to the fact, I didn’t like any of the songs offered by the Nashville publ. Remember. if you’re low priority on a record co’s roster, you get offered the lesser tunes.

 In ‘ 67 I wrote a song titled “Go with Me’ & recorded it as a duo (Gene & Debbe) . It reached the billboard charts( don’t recall the # -60 something I think?) Good enough to land a contract with Acuff-Rose in Nashville. Wrote & recorded “Playboy” which reached # 17 in Billboard Pop charts.( On the TRX label) Earning a BMI award & Gold Record. had a couple of other small chart. songs. But no equal to “Playboy’

 I wrote for Acuff- Rose and had quite a few artists record my songs. The biggest of which was Don Gibson & Dottie West’s “Rings Of Gold” in 69. reached # 2 in country charts. ( BMI award) & Glen Barber’s “Kissed By The Rain-warmed by The Sun’ # 24 in Billboard Country charts.

 Well, I’m running on & on here, and I’m sure you’re not interested in all this. BUT- my career (as it were) has been one mixed bag. Ha!

 Today I’m mostly retired & living in a small town in Texas with my wife of 33 years. I’m not in the best of health. Okay but not tops. (diabetes & such) . I make only very, very rare appearances, such as one coming up the end of this month. The ‘oldie’ show-up thing you know.

 Ironically, the biggest (tho-unknown) song I’ve written is a song titled “Lay It Down) Big overseas for 30 some yrs. It has been recorded by Kenny Rogers, Waylon Jennings, Lonnie Mack-my favorite, on his early “Hills Of Indiana’ album” Buffy Sainte Marie. Tina Turner & so on.

 well I guess I’ll let you up & let you ponder all this mess. wish you well, in making some kind of sense of it. This is difficult for an old one-fingered typist.

 take care & thanks,




P.S The original official title was/is ”Sometime” but actually should have been “Sometimes” in order to be correct. Don’t know what happened there, but I guess “Sometime” it will remain. Kinda like your oldie glitch with the Dale & Grace thing, I guess.

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Reply Johnna Gresham
7:35 PM on July 6, 2013 
Is this the Gene Thomas that was affiliated with the Bob Wills band? Was he ever married to a woman from Tulsa, OK many years ago by the name of Sharon Rose Ratliff?
Reply Debra Precious
7:33 PM on January 9, 2013 
Never Forgotton Only Missed ..........with the fondest memories Always wherever you may be in your Newfound Travels know that Spirit like yours never dies you are living proof of this Gene....Much Love & Prayers Always your friend Debra aka ms 007 kgtf :)
Reply Lauretta Turner Gholston
8:26 PM on July 22, 2010 
Hey, Gene, I am so happy to hear that you are making a appearance at the reunion this coming Sun. I will certainly make the trip from Conroe/The Woodlands to Pasadena to see you and hear you sing once again!!!!!!
Hope you have some of the product....your latest CD project with you. I would like to purchase some CD's for myself and my brothers, who think so much of you.
The reunion should be a great event, especially with you appearing there. Welcome back to Houston/Pasadena!!!!!!
Love, a fan always,