Mono Mondays: Rufus Thomas, Walking The Dog

Monday, October 27, 2014
Mono Mondays: Rufus Thomas, Walking The Dog

This week’s Mono Monday release comes courtesy of a Memphis soul legend and one of the first Stax all-stars, but what’s more important is that its title track is one of the great R&B hits of all time.

Rufus Thomas made his Stax Records debut with his 1962 single “Can’t Ever Let You Go,” but it was the following year that found him really starting to make an impact on the charts, thanks to “Walking the Dog,” which hit #10 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #5 on the R&B singles chart. Not one to let this canine recognition factor go to waste, Thomas promptly released a second single, “The Dog,” which failed to duplicate its predecessor’s success, only hitting #87. Not that that stopped him from seeking pity the following year by releasing another thematically-similar single, this one entitled “Somebody Stole My Dog,” but it only hit #86, which may be why it never made the cut for the Walking the Dog album. On the other hand, “Can Your Monkey Do The Dog,” which is on the album, hit #48 a few months later, so you can’t say that Thomas’s persistence didn’t pay off.

(Remind us to tell you some other time about Thomas’s ‘70s funky feathered trilogy: “Do the Funky Chicken,” “Do the Funky Penguin,” and “The Funky Bird.”)

Getting back to Walking the Dog, don’t think that its best material is limited solely to man’s best friend: you also get Thomas’s classic takes on such songs as “Boom Boom,” “Land of 1,000 Dances,” and “Ya-Ya,” as well as Thomas originals like “You Said,” “It’s Aw’rite,” and his closing one-two punch, “’Cause I Love You” and “I Want to Be Loved.” The whole affair is a classic slab of mid-‘60s soul, and there’s no better way to listen to it than in glorious mono, so now’s a perfect time for you and your dog to walk on over to the digital store of your choice and pick up a copy.