I had been aware of Bobby Rush for a number of years. He was always out there. I would occasionally hear a cut or two and always liked what I heard, but it didn't hit close enough to my main musical loves to make me a real "fan." So, when I had the opportunity to review his recent release, Raw; an effort billed as something more in the acoustic roots vein, I decided to give it a listen.
I popped the CD in the drive and up comes Boney Maroney. Not what I was expecting. And not hitting the spot for me either. Hmmmmm……(more on this one later.)
Then we get Good Morning Little School Girl. Better. Not Bad. Hey, this isn't bad at all. I think I'll sit down and really listen to this now. It is a fairly sparse arrangement. The kind of sparse that comes when an artist wisely never uses four notes when one will do to convey the feeling. And after all, blues is about feeling first.
The third track, Rush's Glad To Get You Back, starts raising the energy a bit. Shawn Kellerman has joined in on some tasty slide. Bobby Rush steps out on harp and we have definitely found the groove. My wife has come into the room for a better listen.
The energy in the room keeps building as the CD moves through its tracks. A build up here; a little mellow reprise there. The wife sits down and I notice her foot tapping. Another track or two and my teenage daughter is laying across the ottoman listening intently to 9 Below Zero. I'm not sure when I grabbed my own guitar to play along but I realized I had during track eleven, How Long.
Fortunately, the supper was just starting to burn as the CD finished so we didn't ruin our entire meal! No one got up until the album had played all the way through and I had started it a second time, then a third, then a fourth.
I heard someone describe Robby Rush's performance as being heavy on the sexual energy. I'll have to see for myself now that I've heard Raw. The decision to use Boney Maroney as the opening track was perfect and after listening to the entire work again I understand the context. The whole package works to build just the right energy and just the right mood.
With Raw, Bobby Rush is delivering a spectacular contemporary translation of the traditional blues idea!
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2007, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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