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Bobby Rush

Bobby Rush...2017 GRAMMY winning blues legend, Blues Hall of Famer, 12x Blues Music Award winner, B.B. King Entertainer of the Year, and Rolling Stone magazine named King of the Chitlin’ Circuit

Naming your album after a song entitled “Porcupine Meat” may seem a little unusual unless you’re Bobby Rush, who earned his first gold record in 1971 with a hit entitled “Chicken Heads.” He elaborates on his recent composition: “If a lady won’t treat me right, but she doesn’t want anyone else to have me, that is hard to digest.” Hence the lyric, “too fat to eat, too lean to throw away.” Porcupine Meat is Rush’s debut release for Rounder Records, and one of the best recordings of his astonishing 60-plus year career. Released in late 2016 the album went on to garner a Grammy Award for Best Traditional Blues Album after a debut at #1 on the Living Blues radio chart and on Billboard Blues.

Rush estimates that he has cut over 370 songs since he first began making music. He has been honored with four total Grammy nominations, as well as 46 nominations and 12 awards from the Blues Foundation, and a 2006 induction into the Blues Hall of Fame.

In 2015 Omnivore Recordings released his 50-year retrospective box set Chicken Heads: A 50-Year History of Bobby Rush which went on to win a Blues Music Award and Living Blues Award for Best Historical Release, be featured in press from the New York Times to High Times. Nearly 100 tracks from his storied career are finally collected in this unprecedented set. Including his Checker/Chess, Galaxy, and Jewel sides through Philadelphia International, Malaco/Waldoxy, LaJam, and Urgent cuts, as well as material from his own Thirty Tigers distributed label, Deep Rush Records, Chicken Heads tells the story of Bobby Rush: unfiltered, unedited and unbelievable. With almost five hours of music on four CDs, Chicken Heads traces his career from 1964’s “Someday” through the title track, from 1979 collaborations with Gamble & Huff to tracks from 2004’s FolkFunk.

The 32-page, full-color booklet is filled with photos, ephemera, liner notes from Bill Dahl and testimonials from friends and fans including Mavis Staples, Keb’ Mo’, Elvin Bishop, Denise LaSalle, Leon Huff, Al Bell, and many more. With mastering and restoration by Grammy winner Michael Graves, Bobby’s vintage recordings have never sounded better.

As annotator Dahl comments at the opening of his essay: “Blues never get funkier than when Bobby Rush swaggers up to the mic and lets fly with his homespun truisms. He’s always in motion, always smiling, always on fire as his skintight band cooks up irresistible elastic grooves behind him.”

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New York Beat

Voices of Mississippi at Jazz at Lincoln Center

Read "Voices of Mississippi at Jazz at Lincoln Center" reviewed by Nick Catalano


The research into music programming for concerts at Jazz at Lincoln Center has always been top-notch, providing important informational fodder for reviewers. Perhaps none has been as significant and revelatory as the material used for the February 25-26 concerts with a truly seminal group--Voices of Mississippi. The origin and nature of the blues and folklore musics that African-Americans produced throughout Mississippi from the Delta to the Northern border has always been difficult to parse. Because so many disparate ...

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Blues Deluxe

Late Summer 2019

Read "Late Summer 2019" reviewed by Doug Collette


Blues Deluxe is a regular column comprised of pithy takes on recent blues and roots-music releases of note. It spotlights titles in those genres that might otherwise go unnoticed under the cultural radar. The Mike Duke Project ...took a while Little Village Foundation 2019 ...took a while is an absolutely delightful piece of work in which Mike Duke's sharp pop sensibilities run parallel to (and often intersect with) his soul/r&b roots. ...

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Album Review

Bobby Rush: Sitting on Top of the Blues

Read "Sitting on Top of the Blues" reviewed by C. Michael Bailey


There exists a fertile underbelly to American Music. It is music that never experiences the success of a Jay Z or Beyonce, but is infinitely more vital and fecund than any of the synthesized, IPad-generated, “genius" generated sounds that have come out over the past 20 year. Sorry, but “rad beats" is not everything and second-hand rhymes might raise a woody in any number of print critics reviews...but not this humble one. Street cred still reigns big, and ...

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Live Review

40th Annual Blues Music Awards at Cook Convention Center

Read "40th Annual Blues Music Awards at Cook Convention Center" reviewed by C. Michael Bailey


40th Annual Blues Music Awards Memphis Cook Convention Center Memphis, Tennessee May 9, 2019 Mississippi writer David L. Cohn, in his 1948 book, Where I was Born and Raised (Houghton, Mifflin), defines the length of the Mississippi Delta thusly: The Mississippi Delta begins in the lobby of the Peabody Hotel in Memphis and ends on Catfish Row in Vicksburg. That is as good a description of the Romantic still life that ...

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Bailey's Bundles

Landon Spradlin, Jack Mack, Tom Craig, In Layman Terms, Bobby Rush, and the 2016 International Blues Challenge

Read "Landon Spradlin, Jack Mack, Tom Craig, In Layman Terms, Bobby Rush, and the 2016 International Blues Challenge" reviewed by C. Michael Bailey


For two music genres often thought dead or near death, the blues and jazz continue to be two densities attracting talent for interpretation. The blues has been due a resurgence since the death of Stevie Ray Vaughan, and is likely to take off in the wake of the Rolling Stone's Blue and Lonesome (Polydor, 2016). Here is the front end of what is sure to be 21st Century blues deluge. Landon Spradlin No More Blue ...

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Album Review

Bobby Rush: Porcupine Meat

Read "Porcupine Meat" reviewed by James Nadal


They don't call Bobby Rush the King of the Chitlin' Circuit for nothing. With an extraordinary discography, and legendary status as an enthusiastic live performer, Rush was recognized in 2015 with a fifty year, retrospective box set, titled “Chicken Heads," by Omnivore Recordings. Returning to his home state of Louisiana, and recorded in New Orleans, the octogenarian singer stays true to his southern funky blues style on Porcupine Meat, his debut release for Rounder Records. Rush is also ...

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