Bobby Rush - Raw (Deep Rush Records, 2007)
Blues guitarist and singer Bobby Rush made his mark on the blues with a high energy live show riveting with electricity. That is one of the things that makes this album so interesting. Here's Rush unplugs and gets back to his acoustic roots, going deep down to deliver a fine album of front-porch acoustic blues. Rush moves well through a variety of blues themes and styles, when he covers, he never covers directly but puts a unique spin of his own on things, whether it's the classic woman done me wrong tale "Nine Below Zero" usually associated with with the second Sonny Boy Williamson (Rice Miller) or going all the way back to "Good Morning Little Schoolgirl." Rush mixes in a little harmonica, but mostly sticks to the acoustic guitar, playing strong and clean but with a fresh earthy tone, like just plowed ground. His own original songs sound right in place next to those standards, which is quite a complement. In "Uncle Esau" he sings about how the blues gets passed down within families and in "I Got 3 Problems" he sings slyly about breaking up his family with a little messing around. This is a fine statement from a veteran musician, showing that he is a multi-faceted bluesman. Original acoustic blues hasn't exactly been burning up the blues landscape lately, so hopefully this well done and thoughtful album will encourage others to pull the plug and explore the music's deep and diverse roots.
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Abdullah Ibrahim - Mukashi ( 2014) ***
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