Rufus: Chaka Khan (vocals); Al Ciner (acoustic & electric guitars, background vocals); Kevin Murphy (organ, Clavinet, background vocals); Ron Stockert (keyboards, background vocals); Dennie Belfield (bass, background vocals); Andre Fischer (drums, percussion, background vocals).
Originally released on ABC Records in 1974. Recorded at Quantam Studios, Torrance, California.
Personnel: Al Ciner (vocals, guitar, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, background vocals); Kevin Murphy (vocals, clarinet, Clavinet, organ, keyboards, background vocals); Ron Stockert (vocals, keyboards, background vocals); Andr‚ Fischer (vocals, drums, percussion, background vocals); Dennis Belfield, Chaka Khan (vocals, background vocals).
Audio Mixer: Don Sciarrotta.
Recording information: Quantum Studios, Torrance, CA.
Arrangers: Dennis Belfield; Ron Stockert; Al Ciner.
In the days before Chaka Khan achieved solo status as an R&B superstar, she was part of the funk collective Rufus. Even on this 1974 album, her distinctive vocal personality was so strong she merited a "featuring Chaka Khan" cover credit. But RAGS TO RUFUS is unquestionably a group effort. Al Ciner's chicken-scratch guitar, Kevin Murphy's burning clavinet, and Ron Stockert's colorful keyboards provide just the right funky framework for Khan's soulful ministrations. Hard-hitting, incisive funk dominates the album, but Khan nevertheless pauses for a successful mid-tempo Aretha simulation on "Walkin' in the Sun." On the title tune, the group displays its instrumental prowess, showcasing its facility for sophisticated horn arrangements, which complement virtuosic guitar and synthesizer work. The album's centerpiece is the Stevie Wonder-penned "Tell Me Something Good," a slow-burning, wah-wah clavinet-fueled song seasoned with sensuality and sarcasm in equal amounts. While Rufus proves capable of laying down hardcore funk grooves, it's the band's highly developed harmonic sensibility that sets them apart from their contemporaries.