C.C. Rider the Venerator: Rufus Thomas

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cc logo 4 dark brown small canvasThis is the latest from The Bluesmobile’s C.C. Rider, who spends her life venerating the founding fathers of the blues. She’s walked the crooked highways of this singing country to resurrect the voices of the past. With the dirt of the Delta on her hands, she sleeps in the shadow of the giants on whose shoulders popular music now stands.

rufus_thomas_djbooth1Rufus Thomas

Born March 26, 1917

For starters, he was one of the greatest radio personalities ever. And when Rufus wasn’t on the radio hootin’ and howlin’, he was promotin’, singin’, dancin’, and writing songs. It’s pretty hard to overstate just how important Rufus Thomas was to the Memphis scene. But Rufus had his own killer sound…and a ton of charisma. By the power of his own voice, he was instrumental in getting 2 Memphis record companies off the ground: Sun and Stax. He really struck gold with a string of dance hits all based on one fine creature…the Dog!

RUFUS THOMAS:

“We were working in a nightclub in a little place called Millington, Tennessee, which is about 15, 20 miles out of Memphis.  And we were playing some tune, I just can’t remember now, maybe Oop oop a doop. But we had a bass line and it had the rhythm just was flowing. And this girl, she was oh, I guess about 5’8” – she was wearing a black leather dress and she had a long waist line and she was just sleek in that.  She looked so good in it. Well, if you know about how The Dog went, she bent over in front of the bandstand and started doing that dance.

And everybody in the bandstand including me went ape.  But we were playing another little tune then and kept the beat going, changed the bass line just a little bit and I started to sing, and the words just came right out, just like that. I had no idea how the words were coming out.  They just came and I said,  “Do The Dog, do The Dog, do The Dog, do The Dog.  Do the Dog, everybody doing the dog. Do the bird dog, do the hound dog, do the bull dog, just any kind of dog, just do the dog.” And it was a monster record and I started doing it that night and everybody all night long in this club, wanted to hear “The Dog.” And that’s how “The Dog” was started.”

More about Rufus Thomas at C.C. Rider’s Website