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Rufus Thomas

From Academic Kids

Rufus Thomas (March 26 1917December 15 2001) was a rhythm and blues and soul singer from Memphis, Tennessee, who recorded on Sun Records in the 1950s and on Stax Records in the 1960s and 1970s. He was the father of soul singer Carla Thomas.

Thomas made his artistic debut at the age of 6 playing a frog in a theatrical production. Thomas was a professional entertainer in the 1930s with the Rabbit Foot Minstrels. In the 1940s he was a DJ with WDIA, one of the few black-owned radio stations in Memphis at that time. His first hit with Sun Records was Bear Cat, released in 1953. In 1959, he recorded the track Cause I love you with his daughter Carla, for Stax Records (at that time still called Satellite Records). His biggest hit with Stax was Walking the Dog, which has been covered by both The Rolling Stones, Dave Stewart and Barbara Gaskin, and was played live by the Grateful Dead in both 1970 and 1984. Thomas had a number of hits in the early 1970s. He played an important part in the Stax reunion in 1988. He released an album That Woman is Poison! with Alligator Records in 1990. Thomas was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame in 2001. He died on December 15, 2001.

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