Friday, January 27, 2006

Rufus Takes It To Chuuch!

Rufus Thomas - Old McDonald Had a Farm (live)

Today's post and tomorrow's post will feature one of the more unusual recordings in the Rufus Thomas catalogue. Rufus recorded an interesting, two-part rendition of the children's song "Old McDonald Had a Farm" for the Do the Funky Chicken album. Part One found Rufus turning the song into an ersatz gospel number with Ollie & The Nightingales singing backgrounds, and Part Two found him turning the song into a funky Stax workout. Today's selection is a live performance of the "gospel" version. After explaining that soul came from "a little church, on the hill, waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay back in the country," Thomas gets to work, and his audience gets right in the spirit of things. The end result is just too much fun.

This version of "Old McDonald" appeared on the 1970 Stax LP Doing the Push and Pull at P.J.'s, which was reissued, along with Thomas' "Wattstax" performances, on the great Fantasy/Stax CD "Rufus Thomas Live!" It's a worthwhile purchase, as it paints a great picture of the masterful showmanship Rufus possessed (and, if for no other reason, for the great blue standup comedy he does at the beginning!)

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