I'm forever in indebted to Mickey for the amazing patience he has shown over the years and still does, so much of what I have done, is preserved because of his sense of history and foresight. I hope you enjoy listening, I approached this interview as I approached every interview I have ever done, just two friends having a chat about life and music...... Thanks to David Marquis and Teddy Peterson for Sponsoring this special edition of the Science of Soul ....There is still so much that I want to share..
|1953 reply to 'Hound Dog'|
Born a sharecropper's son in the rural community of Cayce, Mississippi, Thomas moved to Memphis with his family when he was two years old. His mother was “a church woman.” Thomas made his artistic debut at the age of six playing a frog in a school theatrical production. Much later in life, he would impersonate all kinds of animals: screeching cats, funky chickens and penguins, and mournful dogs. By age 10, he was a tap dancer, performing in amateur productions at Memphis' Booker T. Washington High School.
|At WDIA Memphis|
He also became a long-standing on-air personality with WDIA, one of the first radio stations in the US to feature an all-black staff and programming geared toward blacks. His celebrity was such that in 1953 he recorded an "answer record" to Big Mama Thornton's hit, "Hound Dog" called "Bear Cat" released on Sun Records. Although the song was the label's first hit, a copyright-infringement suit ensued and nearly bankrupted Sam Phillips' record label. Later, Rufus was one of the African-American artists released by Sam Phillips as he oriented his label more toward white audiences and signed Elvis Presley.
The prime of Rufus' recording career came in the 1960s and early 1970s, when he was on the roster of Memphis label, Stax, having one of the first hit sides at the historic soul and blues label, "Walking the Dog" (number 5 R&B, number 10 Pop), in 1963. Rufus is thus the first, and still the only, father to debut in the Hot 100's top 10 after his daughter debuted there. Rufus' daughter Carla also reached number 10, with "Gee Whiz (Look At His Eyes)" on 27 March 1961. At Stax, Rufus was often backed by Booker T. and the MG's or the Bar-Kays. (background c/o : Wikipedia)