Rufus Thomas

Band members                             Related acts

- Rufus Thomas (RIP 2001) -- vocals


  backup musicians: (1972)

- Harold Beane -- guitar

- Charles Brown -- vocals

- Connell Dupree -- guitar

- Gordon Edwards -- bass

- Eli Fountain -- sax

- Ray Griffin -- bass

- Carl Hampton -- keyboards

- Raymond Jackson -- lead guitar

- Terry Johnspn -- percussion

- Ronald Hudson -- bass

- Marvell Thomas -- keyboards




- Rufus and Carla Thomas





Genre: soul

Rating: 4 stars ****

Title:  Did You Heard Me?

Company: Stax

Catalog: STS 3004

Country/State: Memphis, Tennessee

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: minor writing on back cover

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 1

Price: $40.00


It wasn't billed as such, but 1972's "Did You Heard Me?" was essentially an eight track compilation pulling together a series of three recently released Stax singles, along with a new 45 ('6-3-8') and one miscellaneous offering ('Ditch Diggin').  Speculation on my part, but perhaps the album was released to capitalize on Thomas performances on the Wattstax album and film.   Regardless it was kind of an odd marketing move given Thomas had never been a big album seller (up to that point he'd released almost two dozen singles, but only two albums).  Add to that, there was plenty of Stax material to pick from, which made you wonder why these particularly tracks - No 'Funky Way' ?  No 'Sixty Minute Man' ?  Not that there was anything wrong with these selections.  Anyhow, here's what the package pulled together:


- 1970's '(Do the) Push and Pull)  Part 1' b/w '(Do the) Push and Pull Part 2' (Stax catalog number STA-0079)

- 1971's 'The World Is Round' b/w '(I Love You) For Sentimental Reasons) (Stax catalog number STA-0090)

- 1971's 'Do the Funky Penguin (Part 1) b/w 'Do the Funky Penguin (Part 2) (Stax catalog number STA-0112)

- 1971's '6-3.8' b/w 'Love Trap' (Stax catalog number STA-0129)


The lone "new effort" was the inconsequential "dance" tune 'Ditch Digging'. 

"Did You Heard Me?" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) (Do the) Push and Pull Part 1   (Rufus Thomas) - 3:14

2.) (Do the) Push and Pull Part 2   (Rufus Thomas) - 3:14

And you didn't think anyone was doing "dance" tunes into the '70s ...  Well Rufus Thomas was still tapping into this musical genre and while it may not have been the most original concept, the result was a simply killer tune.  James Brown (who was name checked on the tune) had absolutely nothing on Thomas.   Kicked along by Thomas' amazing voice (the opening screech was ...  well fantastic) and support from The Bar-Kays (the give and take horns were simply glorious)  this was one of those tune where you simply couldn't help but get up and move.  As mentioned above, Stax had actually previously released the tune as a 1970 single:


- 1970's '(Do the) Push and Pull)  Part 1' b/w '(Do the) Push and Pull Part 2' (Stax catalog number STA 0079)  rating: ***** stars

3.) The World Is Round   (Rufus Thomas) - 3:12

Another recycled tune.  'The World Is Round' was originally released as a 1965 single.  Musically it was a hardcore soul number that saw Thomas daring to take on some of the keystones in the black social structure.   Good tune to admire what a great voice Thomas had and kudos to Michael Toles wonderful guitar (Thomas name checks him).    Apparently in conjunction with this album Stax reissued the single.


- 1965's 'The World Is Round' b/w 'Chicken Scratch' (Stax catalog number S-178) 

- 1971's 'The World Is Round' b/w '(I Love You) For Sentimental Reasons) (Stax catalog number STA 0090)

4.) (I Love You) For Sentimental Reasons   (Derek Watson - William Best) - 3:56

Sure, a large part of it was Thomas' own fault (check out the stupid album title), but the general perception of the man was that he was kind of Stax's clown prince; more at home with goofy, novelty material than playing it straight.   Anyone who subscribed to that view might want to check out this old-school ballad.  yes, the song was a sappy ballad, but judging by this performance, Thomas was the complete package with a voice that would have given Eddie Floyd, Wilson Picket, Percy Sledge, or scores of other competitors a run for their artistic money.   rating: **** stars

5.) The Breakdown (Part 1)   (Bonny Mack Rick - Eddie Floyd - Rufus Thomas) - 3:17

OMG - it doesn't get funkier than this !!!   All hyperbole aside, this is perhaps the best single he ever released.  How a 54 year old man could pull this one off is a complete mystery to me.  By the way, anyone who thought Thomas was just a studio entity needs to check out this 1972 live clip from the famous Wattstax concert.  I'm not sure how many folks would have dared wear the pink hot pants, let alone the white go-go boots,  Wardrobe selections aside, even James Brown would have been hard pressed to keep up with this rousing performance.  Be sure to check out the audience participation clip around the 2:20 point.  Talk about the power of music ...


- 1971's 'The Breakdown Part 1' b/w 'The Breakdown Part 2' (Stax catalog number STA-0098)  rating: ***** stars


(side 2)
1.) The Breakdown Part 2
   (Bonny Mack Rick - Eddie Floyd - Rufus Thomas) -  3:00

Part two found Thomas slowing the tune down and upping the funk quotient with The Bar Kays chirping along in the background.   Sweet bass line from James Alexander (?).   rating: **** stars

2.) Love Trap   (Randall Stewart) - 2:51

Kicked along by Harvey Henderson's sax, 'Love Trap' was one of those fantastic soul-meets-R&B tunes that Thomas seemed to effortlessly toss off.  Another wonderful example of just how good Thoams' voice was; this was one of the album's hidden gems.  rating; **** stars

3.) Do the Funky Penguin (Part 1)    (Bonny Mack Rice - Jo Bridges - Rufus Thomas - Tim Nixon) - 3:08

4.) Do the Funky Penguin (Part 2)    (Bonny Mack Rice - Jo Bridges - Rufus Thomas - Tim Nixon) - 3:12

Okay, it falls short in the originality sweepstakes, but since 'Do the Funky Chicken' scored so well, why not go back to the creative well.  Same funky structure and almost as good as the earlier tune which is probably why Stax tapped it as a single.  Wonder what happened to 'Do the Funky Aardvark' ?  

- 1971's 'Do the Funky Penguin (Part 1) b/w 'Do the Funky Penguin (Part 2) (Stax catalog number STA-0112)

5.) Ditch Digging   (Bonny Mack Rice) - 2:55
Another "dance" tune, though this one served as an example of diminishing returns ...   Nice, but didn;t measure up to the others.   rating: *** stars

6.) 6-3-8    (Randall Stewart - Rufus Thomas)  - 2:35

Kicked along by Alexander's fantastic bass and some punchy horns, '6-3-8' has been described as Thomas' ode to illicit gambling.  It's a fitting tribute to the habit.  Another one  Stax has previously released it as a single:


- 1972's '6-3.8' b/w 'Love Trap' (Stax catalog number STA-0129  rating; **** stars


Classic Stax album that every self-respecting soul collector should own.