The Amazing Rufus Thomas

Posted by Joe Goldmark, August 26, 2012 02:39pm | Post a Comment
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Rufus Thomas

Rufus Thomas led a storied life. He started in show business in the late 1930s with a traveling minstrel show. By the early ‘50s, he was a renowned DJ on WDIA Memphis and was also recording on Meteor, Chess, and Sun Records.  

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“Bear Cat” - Sun Records 1953 

His daughter, Carla, had one of the first hits on the fledgling Stax Records with “Gee Whiz.”  Two years later in 1963, Rufus had a monster crossover hit with “Walking The Dog.” Later he recorded “Jump Back,” which became a R&R standard. 

“Walking The Dog”

"Jump Back" (live)

In the late ‘60s, Rufus had many R&B hits and some of the first funk hits. 

"Memphis Train"

He also headlined at Wattstax, as shown below. Rufus died at age 84 in 2001.

“Do The Breakdown” (live)

“The Funky Chicken” (live)

Relevant Tags

Carla Thomas (2), Stax Records (3), Chess Records (4), Sun Records (3), Meteor Records (1), Wdia (1), Rufus Thomas (2), R&b (20), Funk (26), Wattstax (1)