Rufus Thomas

Did You Heard Me?

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Signed to Satellite in 1959, before it became Stax, Rufus Thomas could be counted on to provide some of the hardest, unabashedly southern music in the history of the label. Big hits like 1964's "Walking the Dog" and 1970's classic "Do the Funky Chicken" all but helped typify the quirky and potent Stax sound. As his label was going through many reconfigurations and styles in the early 70's Thomas didn't change too much and continued to do up-tempo tracks with a suitably updated production. This 1971 album offers prime Thomas having great chemistry with the members of Isaac Hayes' band of the time. "(Do the Push) and Pull (Part 1 & 2)" has Michael Toles' lazy, country styled guitar riffs and the steady rhythm section of bassist James Alexander and drummer Willie Hall. The other hit singles, "The Breakdown Part 1 and II" and "Do the Funky Penguin Part I and II have Charles Pitts' humorous guitar effects that helped to make the songs even more kinetic. On the track Thomas manages to pose the album's title question not once but twelve times. The last song recorded from the sessions, Thomas's ode to gambling "6-3-8" has sneaky horn charts and a booming bassline. A warbled cover of the standard "(I Love You) For Sentimental Reasons" is the only dud here. Although a few disposable tracks weighs down the effort, Did You Heard Me? more often than not has Thomas on his game.

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