Just Because I'm Leavin'... [Digipak]
Performer: Rufus Thomas
Engineer: James Lott; James Lott...
Producer: Rufus Thomas; Rufus Thomas...
Distributor: Sumthing Distribution
Notes: Personnel: Rufus Thomas (vocals); Rufus Thomas; Carla Thomas (vocals, background vocals); Donnie Baer (guitar); Kenneth Jackson, Kenneth Jackson (trumpet); Fred Nicholson, Fred Nicholson (organ); Steve Spear, Ray Sanders (bass guitar); Mike Gardner, Mike Gardner (drums); James Lott (guitar, background vocals); Jim Spake (tenor saxophone, baritone saxophone); Robbie Kondor (piano); Steve Potts (drums); Gary Hardy (background vocals). Audio Mixer: Wayne Warnecke. Liner Note Authors: Randy Haspel; Vaneese Thomas. Recording information: 1990-1991. Photographers: Rufus Thomas; Todd Spire; Ernest C. Withers; Steven Goff. Arranger: Rufus Thomas. When Rufus Thomas passed away on December 15, 2001 at the age of 84, admirers could take some comfort in knowing that he had lived a long, productive life. Most of his major hits were recorded for Stax in the '60s and early '70s, but after Stax's collapse, Thomas continued to record from time to time -- and he stayed in Memphis until the end. Although Thomas was actually born in Mississippi, Memphis is where he spent much of his life and recorded hits like "Walking the Dog" and "Do the Funky Chicken." It's also where he provided the 11 tracks on Just Because I'm Leavin', which contains material that was recorded in 1990 and 1991 but went unreleased until April 2005. Thomas makes no effort to appeal to the urban contemporary R&B/blues scene of the early '90s; "Miss Jane," "If There Were No Music" and other selections are straight-up, undiluted Memphis soul in the classic-'60s sense. Stylistically, there is very little difference between Just Because I'm Leavin' and the material he recorded for Stax 25- and 30-years-earlier; that is true on Thomas originals as well as an inspired remake of Merle Haggard's "Today I Started Loving You Again" (which shows how well a country song can lend itself to an R&B makeover). Not everything on this CD is soul in the strict sense; Just Because I'm Leavin' also contains some 12-bar blues performances, which only add to the album's Stax-like appeal -- although R&B was Stax's main focus, they also put out their share of electric blues. Just Because I'm Leavin' falls short of essential; by the early '90s, Thomas was past his prime. But even so, this an enjoyable, noteworthy disc that hardcore collectors will welcome. ~ Alex Henderson
Living Blues (p.49) - "The eleven songs here were all produced and arranged by Thomas, and are in straightforward Memphis blues and soul veins." Mojo (Publisher) (p.96) - 3 stars out of 5 - "This is Rufus as Memphis knew him, an affable, but no-nonsense musical sheriff."
The Crown Prince of Dance, Rufus Thomas is one of the most significant figures in Memphis music history, and is also an important contributor to the development of early rock & roll, classic Southern soul, and funk. Thomas began singing in the 1940s and made his name as a radio DJ in Memphis before recording the classic Sun Records side "Bear Cat." Thomas signed on with the legendary Stax Records in the early '60s where he released a series of fun yet hard-hitting soul records, many of which--"Do the Funky Chicken," "Do the Penguin," "Walking the Dog"--were directives for the latest dance crazes. Although Thomas was a genial entertainer, he was also one mean soulster, a reputation he upheld dutifully until his death in 2001.
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