Before Stax: The Complete 50's Recordings

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Mark Deming
When Rufus Thomas was given the nickname "the World's Oldest Teenager," there was more than a little truth to the statement. By the time Thomas cut his first record in 1950, he was already 33 years old and had been a performer since his high-school days, and he would enjoy his greatest fame in the late '60s and early '70s, sending dance tunes like "Do the Funky Chicken" and "Do the Push and Pull" to the upper reaches of the R&B charts when he was well past 50. Before Stax: The Complete 50's Recordings brings together 20 sides Thomas recorded for Chess, Sun, Meteor, and a handful of other labels between 1950 and 1957, and while there are a few straightforward blues ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Mark Deming
When Rufus Thomas was given the nickname "the World's Oldest Teenager," there was more than a little truth to the statement. By the time Thomas cut his first record in 1950, he was already 33 years old and had been a performer since his high-school days, and he would enjoy his greatest fame in the late '60s and early '70s, sending dance tunes like "Do the Funky Chicken" and "Do the Push and Pull" to the upper reaches of the R&B charts when he was well past 50. Before Stax: The Complete 50's Recordings brings together 20 sides Thomas recorded for Chess, Sun, Meteor, and a handful of other labels between 1950 and 1957, and while there are a few straightforward blues numbers like "I'll Be a Good Boy," "I'm So Worried," and "Double Trouble" (and Thomas' voice is in surprisingly supple form as he tries to make like Nat King Cole or Charles Brown in the early innings), it didn't take long for him to realize that his strong suit was upbeat dance tunes with witty lyrics, and "Beer Bottle Boogie" and "Crazy About My Baby" show he was already getting on the good foot before he scored his first proper hit. Thomas' strong and sassy "answer" to Big Mama Thornton's "Hound Dog," "Bear Cat," was a regional smash in 1953, and with Rufus' high-attitude vocals and some slashing guitar work, it's one of the highlights of this disc, though like much of the material here it appears in less than ideal fidelity, and the mastering of some of the early tracks (admittedly rare and hard to find) sounds as if someone at Important Artists tried to clean up the audio with unfortunate results. Still, this collects some elusive and historically important music from one of the true movers and shakers of Memphis R&B, and there's a lot of fun to be had with this set, while giving an underappreciated hero his due.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 4/22/2008
  • Label: Important Artists
  • EAN: 3700398702551
  • Catalog Number: 7801

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 I'll Be a Good Boy (2:53)
  2. 2 I'm So Worried (2:49)
  3. 3 Who's That Chick? (2:37)
  4. 4 Double Trouble (2:38)
  5. 5 Beer Bottle Boogie - Bobby Plater Orchestra (3:03)
  6. 6 Gonna Bring My Baby Back - Bobby Plater Orchestra (2:28)
  7. 7 Night Workin' Blues - Rufus Thomas Jr. (2:48)
  8. 8 Why Did You Deegee? - Rufus Thomas Jr. (2:36)
  9. 9 Crazy About You Baby - Rufus Thomas Jr. (2:34)
  10. 10 No More Dogging Around - Rufus Thomas & His Orchestra (2:39)
  11. 11 Juanita - Rufus Thomas Jr. (3:34)
  12. 12 Decorate the Counter - Rufus Thomas Jr. (2:24)
  13. 13 Married Woman - Rufus Thomas Jr. (2:49)
  14. 14 I'm off That Stuff - Rufus Thomas Jr. (3:04)
  15. 15 Bear Cat - Rufus Thomas Jr. (2:49)
  16. 16 Walking in the Rain - Rufus Thomas Jr. (2:23)
  17. 17 Tiger Man - Rufus Thomas Jr. (2:49)
  18. 18 Save That Money - Rufus Thomas Jr. (2:43)
  19. 19 The Easy Livin' Plan (2:47)
  20. 20 I'm Steady Holdin' On (3:15)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
Rufus Thomas Primary Artist, Piano, Trumpet, Vocals
Joe Hill Louis Guitar
Rosco Gordon Piano
Evans Bradshaw Piano
Willie Dee Trumpet
Kenneth Banks Bass
Bill Johnson Piano
Billy "Red" Love Bass, Guitar, Piano
Bobby Plater Alto Saxophone, Tenor Saxophone, Baritone
Richard Sanders Baritone
Lewis Steinberg Bass
Houston Stokes Drums
John Murray Daley Drums
Tuff Green Bass, Guitar
James Wheeler Tenor Saxophone
Willie Wilkes Tenor Saxophone
Robert Carter Guitar
Floyd Murphy Guitar
Herman Green Tenor Saxophone
Roy Hamlin Johnson Bass
Ellis Bartee Drums, Vocals
Red Davis Drums
Luis Deveert Piano
Jeff Greyer Drums
Evelyn Young Tenor Saxophone
Bill Morrow Guitar, Piano
Technical Credits
Rob Bowman Liner Notes
Ernest C. Withers Picture
Gilles Petard Reissue Producer
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