CD Review: Bobby Rush – Down in Louisiana (Thirty Tigers, 2013)
Singer/guitarist Bobby Rush has traveled an interesting road as a musician. Born in Louisiana, his family relocated to Chicago in the early ‘50s, where Rush was schooled by Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf and other giants of the Windy City’s iconic blues scene. He developed his own sound in the ‘60s, equally fueled by blues, funk and soul, and then in 1971 he moved back to the South and made it his home base for extensive roadwork. He’s traveled the remnants of the chitlin’ circuit, played nightclubs, auditoriums and Las Vegas showrooms, and at the age of 77 remains terrifically vital as a singer, songwriter, guitarist and harmonica player. His latest album blends electric blues with the soul of his native Louisiana, rendered by a stripped-down quintet of guitar, keyboards, harmonica, bass and drums. The results range from twelve bar blues to swamp-funk to the ‘70s styled groove “Rock This House.” Rush and co-producer/keyboardist Paul Brown add a few contemporary touches to the vocals, but the music never strays far from the sounds that are deeply rooted in Rush’s musical soul.