Friday, December 02, 2005

The Crown Prince of Dance!

Rufus Thomas - Funky Robot

I will refer you to Patrick Montier's excellent Stax Records site (see link on right) for information about the late Rufus Thomas, whose fantastic soul and funk recordings demonstrate that "The World's Oldest Teenager" was an appropriate moniker. His other moniker, "The Crown Prince of Dance" is equally appropriate, as he put out records for the Dog, the Cissy, the Funky Chicken, the Breakdown, the Push and Pull, the Funky Penguin, the Itch and Scratch, the Robot, the Funky Bird and the Double Bump. Al Bell once said that if there was any new dance coming out he could show it to Rufus Thomas and he would get a hit out of it!

"Funky Robot" came from Rufus' 1973 album "The Crown Prince of Dance." Although neither the album nor singles pulled from it (including "Funky Robot") were as commercially successful as his prior album, "Did You Heard Me?" (which gave the world "(Do The) Push and Pull," "The Breakdown" and "Do the Funky Penguin"), I think it's one of his best albums. Rufus and the band appear to be relaxed and having fun on the funk tracks, and most of the songs, like "Funky Robot," have a "part 1" and "part 2" feel to them, with Rufus and the band ad-libbing all over the place. In "Funky Robot" Rufus tosses off little chants throughout the second half and, to my delight, the bass player starts playing a different rhythm for each chorus, with the final chorus seeming to riff off of "Shortnin' Bread"! This is the real funk; did you heard me?

1 comment:

Dave! said...

You're going to have to educate me on "the funky penguin". I don't know that one! :)