Rufus Thomas

The Platinum Collection

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Rufus Thomas liked to call himself "the world's oldest teenager," but the truth is he always sounded more mature than his contemporaries on the R&B charts, and that was part of his charm -- Thomas was the old guy who could still give up the funk, and sang about the latest dance crazes with a swagger and a wink that suggested he knew something about the Funky Chicken and the Dog that you and your friends didn't. Thomas was already in his forties when he started recording for Stax in the early '60s, and this collection of 18 sides he recorded during Stax's alliance with Atlantic Records shows his music ranked with the funkiest and most rollicking sides the label cut during this period; Thomas' rough growl was just the instrument for hard dance tunes like "The Memphis Train," "I Think I Made a Boo Boo," "Sister's Got a Boyfriend," and "Sophisticated Sissy," and he was always able to prod the Memphis session musicians into intense, sweaty performances. Thomas had a habit of focusing on novelty tunes or dance numbers, but he was an entertainer of the old school who was devoted to giving the audience a good time, and that's just what the 18 numbers on this disc deliver, and though Thomas didn't mind playing for laughs, he delivered some deadly serious grooves along the way. Rhino Records' The Best of Rufus Thomas: Do the Funky Somethin' is one of the few Thomas collections covering material from his Stax/Atlantic period (1961-1967) as well as Stax's later independent era (1968-1972), and it's certainly a better buy than this set, but if you're looking for a solid and funky collection of Rufus' Atlantic masters, this will do nicely, and it includes two duets with his lovely daughter Carla Thomas to boot.

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