REVIEW: Bobby Rush’s “Sitting on Top of the Blues” is a Potent Shot of Southern Blues


Bobby Rush is a bluesman.

48 years following the wah wah guitar riff of “Chicken Heads,”  86 years young Bobby Rush boldly returns August 16th with the powerful Sitting on Top of the Blues from Deep Rush/Thirty Tigers, which is a potent shot of southern blues and soul; neat and straight from a living legend and the king of the chitlin’ circuit.

Sitting on Top of the Blues was co-produced by Rush and Vasti Jackson, with assistance from Scott Billington who produced Rush’s 2017 Grammy winning Rounder Records album, “Porcupine Meat”.  Rush indicates he wanted to present an album “that’s about the truth of me”, and that’s exactly what he’s accomplished here. From the confidence of “Hey Hey Bobby Rush” with its lyric, “my name is blues man/that’s all I know”to the power of Rush’s harmonica in the instrumental, “Bobby Rush Shuffle,”  it’s all here; it’s everything Rush has long held dear: soul, blues, funk and everything between.

A man learns a few things in 86 years, and Rush is only happy to share his revelations with the listener via, the stripped down “Recipe For Love” (hint – it don’t ever come too soon), and the jazzy funkiness of “Pooky Poo,”  and the sure to be dance floor filling “Shake Til’ You Get Enough.”  Rush has always been an innovator and a hard worker and never one to tell “you can’t do that.” Rush says, “That’s the wrong thing to tell Bobby Rush.” It’s a formula that’s served Rush well over the years. In addition to the 2017 Grammy, he’s won twelve blues music awards among 48 scattered nominations, played prestigious festivals across the world and was even the first blueman to perform at the Great Wall of China, earning him his  “China’s Ambassador of the Blues” moniker.

On the aptly titled Sitting on Top of the Blues, Rush is indeed a bluesman on the top of his game. He sounds strong and vital, his harp playing is incomparable, and the songs are perfectly suited. Bobby Rush is big, he’s bad and he’s back. Watch out!

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