There isn’t any question that Homer, Louisiana bluesman Bobby Rush will go down as one of the most colorful and electrifying musicians the genre has ever seen. Still kicking at 77, the over-the-top crowd pleaser with more than 450 credits to his name’s focus has recently shifted away from the funk and finesse of his better known efforts towards the raw, bare-bones blues of his youth and the sound he first took to the stage nearly 60 years ago. On his latest release Down in Louisiana, Rush puts aside his slick and sassy trademarks in favor of his guitar and harmonica.
“I wanted to go back down to the roots of where I came from, the sounds, the things I knew about as a child — as a kid when I first started recording — and let people know that I haven’t forgotten this bridge that brought me me across,” Rush explains in this week’s episode of OffBeat’s Look-Ka Py Py Podcast. For Rush those roots grew out of his county home and grew strong in the “chitlin’ circuit,” a string of roadside taverns and honky-tonks where, during the Jim Crow era, musicians such as he and Buddy Guy and Bobby “Blue” Bland found their voice, learning the ropes and singing the blues with legends such as Elmore James, Muddy Waters and Howlin’ Wolf. To hear the rest of Rush’s tale, press play.