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Watch Blues Legend Bobby Rush Play a Rare Solo Set at Amoeba Hollywood

Posted by Amoebite, March 4, 2016 06:06pm | Post a Comment

Bobby Rush Live Amoeba Hollywood Chicken Heads

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.

Bobby Rush Chicken Heads

Born in Homer, Louisiana, Bobby Rush found himself playing with blues legends like Elmore James in Arkansas before heading to Chicago. There he worked with such greats as Muddy Waters and Jimmy Reed at the legendary Chess / Checker Records. In 1971 Rush scored a hit on Galaxy Records with "Chicken Heads" and would record steadily throughout the next few decades, becoming a fixture of the Chitlin' Circuit, home to many legends including Jimi Hendrix, B.B. King, and James Brown. Rush would find a bigger audience in 2003, after being featured in the Martin Scorsese produced and Clint Eastwood directed documentary, The Blues. In the following years Rush would receive three Grammy nominations and 41 Blues Music Award nominations.  Last year, at the age of 81, he received the B.B. King Entertainer of the Year award.

Chicken Heads: A 50-Year History Of Bobby Rush features nearly 100 tracks pulled from Rush's career, including his early work for Checker, Galaxy, and Jewel, through his work with Philadelphia International and LaJam, and more recent tracks from his own Deep Rush label. Spanning over 4 discs and featuring a 32 page full-color booklet, the box set features almost five hours of Rush's recorded output, including duets with Dr. John, Blinddog Smokin', and Frayser Boy.

“It’s very exciting. Truly I feel honored that someone would think enough of me to do this," says Rush of his new box set. "I’m happy that someone thought before I leave this land to tell my story. I’m proud of it and flattered about it."

Watch his performance live at Amoeba Hollywood:

Bobby Rush - Live at Amoeba Hollywood
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Bobby Rush (1), Chicken Heads (1), Blues (27), Howlin Wolf (1), Amoeba Hollywood (754), Video (104), Muddy Waters (2), Bb King (1), Jimmy Reed (1), Elmore James (1), James Brown (30), Jimi Hendrix (21)