In celebration of his new career-spanning box set, blues legend Bobby Rush recently took the Amoeba Hollywood stage. "I don't claim to be a young boy, but I am blessed; November the 10th, I'll be 83 years old," he told the crowd before easing into his own version of the Howlin' Wolf classic "The Natchez Burning," which tells the true story of a Mississippi nightclub that burned down, killing 209 people. In his own version Rush changes the names of the musicians involved in the fire to those of Muddy Waters, B.B. King, and Jimmy Reed - all legends who have now passed. But Bobby Rush lives on, which is something he doesn't take lightly. He was sure to tell the audience how thankful he was to have them there, and to be able to live as long as he has "to see the world change, in a lot of different ways.
While Rush's music usually features a full band and rides a line between blues, soul, and funk, his performance at Amoeba was a special, intimate show; his singing only accompanied by his guitar, his harmonica, and the beat of his feet. The stripped-down set brought the very essence of the blues out of his tunes, while still infusing them with his own brand of funk and sense of humor. With his cutting (yet never rushed) guitar, his thick, howling harmonica, and his steady stomping Rush kept the audience riveted, responsive, and wanting more.