Personalities | Rufus Thomas | Fifties | Jazz & Blues

(Vocals, 1917–2001)

Rufus Thomas Jr. was born in Cayce, Mississippi and raised in Memphis, Tennessee. He worked with tent and minstrel shows throughout the 1930s. He recorded for Sun Records in the early 1950s and had the label’s first hit with ‘Bear Cat’ in 1953; he also worked as a disc jockey at WDIA, Memphis. He began recording for Stax in 1959 and had big R&B hits with humorous dance songs such as ‘Walkin’ The Dog’ and ‘Do The Funky Chicken’. Billed as the ‘World’s Oldest Teenager’, Rufus Thomas was an ambassador for Memphis blues and is the father of 1960s soul siren Carla Thomas.

Styles & Forms | Fifties | Jazz & Blues
Personalities | Big Mama Thornton | Fifties | Jazz & Blues

Source: The Definitive Illustrated Encyclopedia of Jazz & Blues, founding editor Howard Mandel


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