Product Dimensions: 8”x10” photo in 11”x14” matte
Author/Artist: Center for Southern Folklore Archives
This photo shows Rufus Thomas closing the Center for Southern Folklore’s 1995 Memphis Music & Heritage Festival. Thomas (1917–2001) was a rhythm and blues and soul performer from Memphis,. During the 1930s he toured the South as a comedian and dancer with traveling shows like the Rabbit Foot Minstrels. He recorded with Sun Records in the 1950s and on Stax Records in the 1960s and 1970s scoring such hits as The Funky Chicken and Walking the Dog. Thomas made his professional singing debut at the Elks Club on Beale Street in Memphis, filling in for another singer at the last minute. Over time he became so popular that audience's were known to rush the stage shouting "Ruf! Ruf! Ruf!" Thomas also became an on-air personality with WDIA, the first radio stations in the United States to feature all-African American disc jockeys. He was one of the station's most popular DJs. Thomas was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame in 2001.