Rufus Thomas 1917-2001
December 17, 2001 8:40 PM Subscribe
Rufus Thomas 1917-2001 Since the 11th of September, I've left the radio off a great deal of the time, so it was only today, while listening to Terry Gross's Fresh Air, that I heard Rufus Thomas had died. A performer since he was child comedian and tap dancer with the Rabbit's Foot Minstrels, he also was a famous dj on WDIA in Memphis, the first all-black radio station format in the country, recorded Bear Cat, an answer song to Big Mama Thornton's Hound Dog that was an early hit for Sam Phillips' Sun Records and enjoyed a brief second career as the World's Oldest Teenager--singing Walkin' The Dog and Funky Chicken and many duets with daughter Carla--for Stax Records. From minstrel show to medicine show to dj to elder statesman of Memphis soul, his life and career spanned history. I, for one, will miss him.
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