Friday, October 12, 2007

Otis Rush - Right Place, Wrong Time (Bullfrog, 1976)

Strange but true and emblematic of the up and down nature of bluesman Otis Rush's career, this album was recorded for Capitol Records in 1971, who inexplicably declined to release it. The project sat abandoned for five years, before coming out on the small Bullfrog label and then making its way to its current home on Hightone. Regardless, it's a sterling LP of Chicago style blues with the leader's striking guitar and impassioned vocals front and center, bracketed by a punchy horn section. Rush is going all out on these performances, absolutely tearing into his original "Three Times a Fool" and smoldering through versions of "Let's Have a Natural Ball" and "Tore Up." Slower tempoed material has always made for the most emotional Rush performances, and this album is no different. Who would have expected him to cover the pop song "Rainy Night in Georgia", let along turn it into a smoky soul masterpiece. "Your Turn To Cry" wrenches out as much emotion as did his classic Cobra Records releases of the 1950's. This is one of the great blues albums of the 1970's and one of the highlights of Otis Rush's long career.

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