Bobby Rush (The Road Widens)
Daddy B. Nice's #5 ranked Southern Soul Artist
Bobby Rush (The Road Widens)
Composed by Bobby Rush
December 2, 2018:
THE "ROAD" WIDENSYour Daddy B. Nice was stunned recently to discover that Night Fishin', which my defective, dust-encrusted memory had settled upon as Bobby Rush's last southern soul album, was published in 2005, more than a dozen years ago! As a matter of fact, Porcupine Meat, the Rounder-published, straight-blues album that led to Bobby's 2016 Grammy award, did not follow NIGHT FISHIN'. At least a half-dozen albums filled the years between the two (see Bobby Rush's Discography below). And although he holds down only the #5 spot on Daddy B. Nice's Top 100: 21st Century Southern Soul Countdown, Bobby Rush, by virtue of his two-track recording career (southern soul albums--i.e. "Night Fishing"--for African-Americans and straight-blues albums--i.e. "Porcupine Meat"--primarily for Caucasians) is by far southern soul's most famous living practitioner, taking over the esteemed place in the musical universe previously held by the even more legendary B.B. King.
So it is only natural that with Rush's growing national and international visibility, his touring schedule was bound to change. Bobby's no longer a de rigueur headliner at multi-act, chitlin' circuit concerts in the Deep South, although he still occasionally shows up for even classically intimate, "hole-in-the-wall" dates in the Delta--his December 22nd gig in Canton, Mississippi, just outside Jackson, for instance.
Last year Bobby took southern soul to northern cities and college campuses on an extensive and successful tour with fellow Grammy award-winner William Bell. Beginning in January of 2019, however, Bobby Rush "widens" his travelling road considerably beyond anything he's undertaken in the past. First he takes his show to the West Coast, beginning with two gigs in Seattle and continuing down the coast of northern California, ending with two shows in Berkeley. There's a quick trip to the Bahamas, then back to the West Coast in Santa Monica (February). Then it's on to Finland, Denmark and Norway (March) before reconnoitering in Switzerland and France (April).
--Daddy B. Nice
See Daddy B. Nice's Concert Calendar.
November 26, 2017: Re-Posted from Daddy B. Nice's Mailbag; Excerpted "from Re: Charles Wilson & The 'Mississippi Boy' Controversy"
"I recently attended my first southern soul concert in the North. It was a predominately white audience in Ft. Collins, Colorado for the William Bell-Bobby Rush-headlined TAKE ME TO THE RIVER TOUR. See "William Bell and Bobby Rush Take Southern Soul North" on Daddy B. Nice's Corner.
One of the most amusing aspects of the gig was that none of the white performers (white bluesman Charlie Musselwhite, for instance) knew me; all of the black performers--including the two rappers--did. So after the concert, I met and embraced with great happiness Stax/Wilbe southern soul-man William Bell, a reader of my website and occasional correspondent, whom I'd never met in person. Twenty years of knowing each other through word-of-mouth creates a lot of empathy.
But my greatest joy was meeting eighty-something Bobby Rush, the oldest guy there. I'd never heard from him in two decades, had no idea if he'd ever read anything I'd written about him, but when I went up to him and said, "Hey, Bobby, I'm Daddy B. Nice from Southern Soul," Bobby jumped up from his chair, exclaiming, "My buddy!" That made my day, if not week. We exchanged pleasantries and then I did something I'd written about as a joke on my ballot for last year's "Village Voice" album awards.
Bobby Rush is the only guy your Daddy B. Nice would fall to his knees in the “face Mecca” position and chant, “I am not worthy, I am not worthy,” even as he chattered utter nonsense.Bear in mind, I wouldn't bow (or wouldn't have bowed) to B.B. King or any of the other greats. It's because Bobby Rush is so funny that I bowed. I bowed to his ability to make me laugh.
Bobby Rush is the Richard Pryor of southern soul.So that's what I proceeded to do, surrounded by onlookers. I didn't actually fall to my knees on the floor, but I bowed twice real slow, knees bent, long arms out-stretched, repeating "I am not worthy." It was hilarious. Bobby loved it, I loved it, and I floated away from the venue that night on a cloud of euphoria..." DBN
Read Daddy B. Nice's news account of the Take Me To The River Tour at Daddy B. Nice's Corner.
Note: Bobby Rush also appears on Daddy B. Nice's original Top 100 Southern Soul Artists (90's-00's). The "21st Century" after Bobby Rush's name in the headline is to distinguish his artist-guide entries on this page from his artist-guide page on Daddy B. Nice's original chart.
For the latest updates on Bobby Rush, scroll down to the "Tidbits" section. To automatically link to Bobby Rush's charted radio singles, awards, CD's and other citations on the website, go to "Rush, Bobby" in Daddy B. Nice's Comprehensive Index.
September 4, 2017: Re-Posted from Daddy B. Nice's Corner
September 4, 2017:
William Bell & Bobby Rush Take Southern Soul NorthIt had to happen sooner or later...And at last, it has. Buoyed by two of its stars "crossing over" and winning Grammies last year (Bobby Rush in "traditional blues," William Bell in "americana"), southern soul music heads north of the Mason-Dixon line in the most ambitious attempt yet to take the favored music of the Deep South beyond its traditional borders.
It may be watered down, it may be "black" music tailored for "white" audiences, it may be circumscribed to appeal to a demographic with no knowledge of or appreciation for the last quarter-century of contemporary southern soul music and southern blues. But it's the most prominent step yet in the chitlin' circuit's ongoing bid to "break out" into the national market in a manner reminiscent of the birth and glory days of rock and roll.
The Take Me To The River National Concert Tour is an offshoot of the remarkable "Take Me To River" documentary featured here in 2014-15 and starring Bell, the late Otis Clay, Snoop Dogg and others.
Listen to William Bell featuring Snoop Dog singing "I Forgot To Be Your Lover" on YouTube.
Listen to Otis Clay featuring Lil' P-Nut singing "Trying To Live My Life Without You" on YouTube.
Will these concerts approximate the excitement and X-rated ribaldry of the Dirty South? Will Bobby Rush bring his twerking dancers, lean over, hunch close and sniff that nookie thang? That's doubtful. New audiences will probably be unnecessarily polite, respectful, sedentary and--at times--perhaps a little lost. But they should also be transported and inspired.
Day-after-day intensive and months long, the tour represents a powerful surge of southern culture and marginalized musicians--in both Bell's and Rush's cases, the majority of their careers--into the country's musical heartland, and the first indication for many "national types" that rhythm and blues still produces roses amidst the thorns of hiphop.
The tour's headliners are Rush, Bell, Charlie Musselwhite, Don Bryant, Al Kapone, Frayser Boy, The Hi Rhythm Section and The Stax Academy Alumni. The tour "preps" in the comfort of the Delta before heading to college towns and other "hip" cities across the North and West, including assorted southern hubs. The only region of the country left out is the Northeast.
Here's the complete Take Me To The River tour itinerary:
Sep 26 Cleveland, MS
Sep 28 Lafayette, LA
Sep 29 Baton Rouge, LA
Sep 30 Houston, TX
Oct 01 Dallas, TX
Oct 03 Midland, TX
Oct 05 Tucson, AZ
Oct 06 Mesa, AZ
Oct 07 Solana Beach (San Diego), CA
Oct 08 Malibu (Los Angeles), CA
Oct 11 San Francisco, CA
Oct 12 Folsom, CA
Oct 13 Napa, CA
Oct 18 Portland, OR
Oct 20 Bremerton, WA
Oct 21 Kirkland, WA
Oct 22 Tacoma, WA
Oct 25 Billings, MT
Oct 26 Fort Collins, CO
Oct 27 Lone Tree (Denver), CO
Oct 28 Salina, KS
Oct 31 Minneapolis, MN
Nov 01 Minneapolis, MN
Nov 03 Kansas City, MO
Nov 05 Glen Ellyn, IL
Nov 07 Wausau, WI
Nov 08 Appleton, WI
Nov 09 Rochester, MN
Nov 10 Milwaukee, WI
Nov 12 Kalamazoo, MI
Nov 13 Kalamazoo, MI
Nov 14 Chicago, IL
Jan 25, 2018 Durham, NC
Jan 26, 2018 Roanoke, VA
Jan 27, 2018 Irmo, SC
Jan 29, 2018 Gainesville, FL
Jan 30, 2018 Jacksonville, FL
Feb 02, 2018 Tampa, FL
Feb 03, 2018 Fort Lauderdale, FL
The itinerary gives fans outside the southern soul concert circuit the opportunity to see two of the music's greatest living artists, Bobby Rush and William Bell.
Your Daddy B. Nice keeps wondering what that show in Malibu will be like. Full of movie stars with sand in their toes from just walking in from the restricted beach? More power to southern soul music.
And hats off(!) and thank you, Al Green.
--Daddy B Nice
Listen to Al Green singing "Take Me To The River" on YouTube.
Listen to Al Green onstage, taking it to the national audience accompanied by B.B. King, Lenny Kravitz, Cheryl Crow and others singing "Take Me To The River" on YouTube.
Listen to Jeff Floyd featuring William Bell singing "Somebody's Gonna Lose A Good Woman Tonight" on YouTube.
See Daddy B. Nice's Artist Guide to Bobby Rush.
See Daddy B. Nice's Artist Guide to William Bell.
February 26, 2017:
Grammy Award Winner! Best Traditional Blues Album: PORCUPINE MEAT (Rounder)Buy Bobby Rush's PORCUPINE MEAT CD at Amazon.
At 83 and 374 albums later, Bobby Rush wins GRAMMY for Best Traditional Blues Album(From Blues Festival E-Guide "Blues News")
(Los Angeles, CA) – The 59th GRAMMY Awards were held on Feb 12, 2017, at Staples Center in Los Angeles. Bobby Rush won Best Traditional blues Album for his album Porcupine Meat. “Wow,” Rush exclaimed as he reached the podium with his Grammy in hand,” Thank God, first of all, for letting me be here long enough to get one of these; for Rounder Records; my producer, Scott, Dorothy his lovely wife; my manager, staff, Lo who been with me for 100 years. I said it because this is my 374th record! And finally …and finally, after recording since 1951, I’m so thankful, because I’m 83 years. Thank all the staff at the record company who was so nice to me in doing this. Thank you for voting for me. Thank the Academy for thinking enough of me to put me in the line, because if I didn’t win, I’m still a winner, ‘cause I’m in the line.”
Then, like clockwork from this humble man’s heart he simply says, “All the… the guys that I [beat] out… this to you!” as he raised his GRAMMY up high.
Daddy B. Nice's Top 10 "BREAKING" Southern Soul Singles Preview For. . .
2. "Porcupine Meat"----Bobby Rush
Who says "slow" doesn't "swing"? Published by straight-blues label Rounder (a first for Rush), the promotional copies may not be flowing to the usual chitlin' circuit deejays, but that doesn't mean we can't partake. As legendary deejays like Ragman at Jackson, Mississippi's WMPR have long schooled us, you can't have your southern soul without a little blues, be it Albert King, B.B. King, Little Milton or Bobby Rush. Vasti Jackson's on lead guitar, Rush on his signature mouth harp.
Listen to Bobby Rush singing "Porcupine Meat" on YouTube.
Buy Bobby Rush's "Porcupine Meat" single from his new PORCUPINE MEAT CD at Amazon.
From Daddy B. Nice's 2016: The Year In Southern Soul: More great quotations from the songs of the year:"I tried to leave her many times before
And every time I leave,
I walk back for more…
It’s like porcupine meat,
Too fat to eat,
Too lean to throw away.
(“Porcupine Meat” Bobby Rush)"
See "2016: The Year In Southern Soul" on Daddy B. Nice's Corner
Listen to Bobby Rush singing "Nightime Gardener" on YouTube, accompanied by Keb' Mo' on guitar.
October 1, 2016: NEW ALBUM ALERT
Sample/Buy Bobby Rush's New PORCUPINE MEAT CD at Amazon.
PORCUPINE MEAT Track List:
1 I Don't Want Nobody Hanging Around
2 Porcupine Meat [feat. Vasti Jackson]
3 Got Me Accused
4 Snake In The Grass
5 Funk O' De Funk
6 Me, Myself And I [feat. Joe Bonamassa]
7 Catfish Stew
8 It's Your Move
9 Nighttime Gardener [feat. Keb' Mo']
10 I Think Your Dress Is Too Short
11 Standing On Shaky Ground
12 I'm Tired (Tangle Eye Mix)
Listen to Bobby Rush singing "Porcupine Meat" on YouTube.
Daddy B. Nice notes:
Although he holds down only the #5 spot on Daddy B. Nice's Top 100: 21st Century Southern Soul Countdown, Bobby Rush, by virtue of his parallel recording career (southern soul albums--i.e. "Night Fishing"--for African-Americans and straight-blues albums primarily for Caucasians) is by far the most famous living southern soul artist.
His new album, published on renowned blues label Rounder Records, continues the 82-year-old Rush's latter-day courtship of the "national" (straight-blues) audience and his self-acknowledged pursuit of a Grammy. The track "I Think Your Dress Is Too Short copies the minimalist melody of Bob Steele's "Yo Dress Is Too Short" but at a slower tempo with new lyrics. Guest artists include southern soul's Vasti Jackson and national blues recording artists Joe Bonamassa and Keb' Mo'.
Daddy B. Nice's 21st Century Countdown (Revised) Profile of Bobby RushAugust 1, 2013:
At the end of Denise LaSalle's "Older Woman," and her voice-over dissertation on the disrespect older women endure from their men, Bobby Rush suddenly pops up out of nowhere.
"Hey Denise," he says. "This is Bobby Rush. I'm over 72 and I can still beat the young men doing whatever they think they can do."
And, you know, that's about right. Bobby Rush is a vocalist of extraordinary expressiveness--an expressiveness so effortless it never draws attention to itself. This disheveled genius with his contortionist musical history, his spasmodic inspiration and his byzantine discography has never once conceded his primacy as a number-one stud of--by turns--Southern Soul and/or The Blues.
And in the 21st Century, especially the last decade, Bobby Rush has alternated between the two genres, laying down a blues album like Raw to the east and a southern soul album like Night Fishin' to the west, never failing to grab and explore the authentic heart of either.
Daddy B. Nice's original Top 100 Southern Soul Artists (90's-00's) showcased the long-overlooked but super-charged, dancefloor hook of Bobby Rush's "Bare Mouth Woman."
"Crazy 'Bout You," Bobby Rush's delicate, soulful and atypically beautiful ballad of record, has likewise been Daddy B. Nice's longstanding pick for Rush's "B-side" (#2-song).
However, "Crazy 'Bout You" goes all the way back to 1992 and Rush's Handy Man CD, while "Bare Mouth Woman" harks back to the turn of the century (2000) on Rush's Hoochie Man CD.
So it only seems fitting, in light of updating Bobby Rush for the 21st Century, to showcase the song which, perhaps more than any other, made Bobby Rush relevant to the contemporary Southern Soul audience: Night Fishin'".
The title tune of Rush's Night Fishin' CD (Deep Rush, 2005), "Night Fishin' equates looking for a one-night stand with angling for catfish, ergo "The catfish bite better at night."
The diminutive tune also squeezes in a reference to "private fishing holes," which Sheba Potts-Wright most famously reiterated in an "answer" song called "Private Fishing Hole," with even wittier double-entendres.
But more importantly, "Night Fishin'" recycles the quintessential riff of Bobby Rush's career, the descending progression of notes that instantly identifies his signature hits "Sue" and "I Ain't Studdin' Ya," a similarity that can be readily confirmed by singing the lyrics to any of the three songs over the background to either of the other two.
Here are, roughly speaking, four milestones that have greatly enhanced your Daddy B. Nice's appreciation and understanding of Bobby Rush in the 21st Century:
1/ Bobby Rush is a captivator, a tale-spinner, a cogitator and a street philosopher of the first order. This was made evident for the nation and the world to see in 2003, when acclaimed movie director Martin Scorsese ("Mean Streets," "Good Fellas," etc.) included interviews and concert footage of Bobby Rush in his popular PBS documentary on "The Blues":
Listen to excerpts from Bobby Rush segments in Martin Scorsese Presents the Blues: A Musical Journey DVD: on YouTube.
Buy Complete 3-hour DVD of Martin Scorsese Presents: The Blues.
2/ Bobby Rush's YouTube videos, almost entirely concert postings, brought Rush's stage antics to everyone unable to attend his concerts in person. In particular, the concert footage brought Rush's onstage dancing girls to the forefront, especially the twurking phenomenon, Ms. Lowe, who has become an underground celebrity with her own following.
Listen to Bobby Rush singing and Ms. Lowe dancing to "Show You A Good Time" on YouTube.
Inspired by the Bobby Rush stage show, recording artist Sweet Angel constructed an entire song ("A Girl Like Me") around the riff to "Sue"-"I Ain't Studdin' Ya"-Night Fishin'" and recounted her own personal encounters with Bobby Rush, trying to convince him to let her be one of his dancers.
Listen to Sweet Angel singing "A Girl Like Me" Live Onstage on YouTube.
See many more YouTube postings of Bobby Rush and his dancers by scrolling down to the "Tidbits" section (#1) below.
3/ Bobby Rush recorded this one-of-a-kind acoustic blues number on his Blind Snake album:
"I'm a November child.
I'm a Scorpio.
Traveled the world
From coast to coast.
Singing the blues
Wherever I go.
Bobby Rush is my name.
That's my thing.
Making love to my baby
Is my fame to claim.
I don't want nobody
Having no hard feelings with me."
Daddy B. Nice's Top 10 "BREAKING" Southern Soul Singles Review For. . .
"No Hard Feelin' With Me"-----Bobby Rush
When I heard DJ Handyman playing this autobiographical nugget of pure acoustic blues on WMPR (Jackson, Ms.) afternoon after afternoon the past couple of weeks, I thought it was from Rush's new DOWN IN LOUISIANA album. I wrote it down as, "Bobby Rush, stunning new acoustic blues."
It's the most primal Bobby Rush I've ever heard, kind of an "Ain't Nobody's Business But My Own" take-off, but also much more, and although it dates back to the BLIND SNAKE LP, "No Hard Feelin' With Me" is too vivid and honest and full of life not to recommend to others who also missed it.
Sorry. No YouTube, which points to its being overlooked.
Sample/Buy Bobby Rush's "No Hard Feelin' With Me" mp3
4/ Finally, in 2013, the first book on contemporary Southern Soul music was published (Southern Soul-Blues by David Whiteis, University of Illinois Press), and the most intriguing and complex interview in the section devoted to artist portraits was the chapter on Bobby Rush. Here the fan finds one of the genre's undisputed statesmen delving into his art, his past, the contemporary scene and diverse other topics with an intensity and ambivalence all too human.
Buy David Whiteis's SOUTHERN SOUL-BLUES book with a chapter on Bobby Rush at Amazon.
Here's an excerpt that displays Bobby Rush's deep-seated pride and orneriness (sometimes called "contrariness"). In the first passage he's describing the mind games played with a white promoter; in the second he's defying--as deftly as a gambler flipping a quarter--the opposite expectations of a black promoter:
In one instance, Bobby recalls, a promoter told him, "I want you to work this show for me, but I want to ask you something. Can you work without the girls?"
"Study it!" (Bobby says.) "...I said 'Sure I can.' I signed the contract. I had four girls with me at the time. When I got to Florida, I had ten. She said, 'Oh, God, I thought you could work without the girls.'
"'I said I CAN--I didn't say I WOULD.'
"'Cause I knew what she was getting at. Now she said. 'This is a family-oriented show.'
"She underestimated me. When I got up there, the girls had the gowns on. They didn't turn around (to show butts or twurk). And I even did some gospel.
"She said, 'Oh, I didn't know you could do that.'
"I said, 'Because you underestimated me. You underestimated my intelligence.'"
In the second instance, Bobby Rush is talking about a male promoter:
"I went to work last year. I did my acoustic thing. The man, he loved it, but he said, 'I thought you were bringing the band.'
"'You hired Bobby Rush,' I said. 'I didn't tell you about bringing no band. You hired Bobby Rush.'
"'I thought the girls gonna be on this show.'
"I said, 'I didn't tell nobody they would or they wouldn't. I decided I wouldn't use them tonight.'
"I didn't tell him I wasn't gonna bring nobody. I didn't tell him I was gonna come with the acoustic."
From David Whiteis' SOUTHERN SOUL-BLUES. Buy the book at Barnes & Noble.
--Daddy B. Nice
About Bobby Rush (The Road Widens)
Bobby Rush was born Emmit Ellis Jr. in Homer, Louisiana in 1940. His family moved to Chicago in the fifties, and in the sixties he began singing in West Side blues bars. But by the early seventies he had left traditional blues for a musical style more suited to the chitlin' circuit, where his performing skills and his penchant for adult-rated material were a natural draw.
Honorary "B" Side
"Bare Mouth Woman"
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