Bobby Rush Raw

Bobby Rush was born in rural Louisiana, worked out of Chicago in the ’50s and for the past 25 years has been based in Jackson, Mississippi. There, Rush reigns as one of last old school chitlin’ circuit stars, a purveyor of sexy soul blues that middle-aged black audiences in the Deep South love. Raw will come as a complete surprise to his fans; it’s a stripped down, solo acoustic outing featuring Rush’s singing while playing guitar and harmonica. Through its 13 tracks, Raw is filled with traditional song themes and structures that Rush personalises to suit his modern trickster persona. Taking familiar titles, such as Sonny Boy Williamson’s "9 Below Zero” and Muddy Waters’ "Good Morning Little School Girl,” he updates the subject matter. The feel of Raw is funky, with seductive tales of backdoor creepers ("Howlin’ Wolf”), skinny soul mates ("Boney Maroney”) and reunited lovers ("Glad to Get You Back”). The lament "How Long” ventures into politics, addressing the unfulfilled promise of 40 acres and a mule. In the hands of a lesser performer, this recording might appear as a calculated attempt to revive a flagging career. In Rush’s case, it simply represents a mature musician deciding it’s time to go back home. The result is one of the finest sessions in his career. (Deep Rush)