Bobby Rush sticks to the grit, grind and soul that have made the 77 year old musician a blues innovator since the 1960’s, when he shared Chicago stages with Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf and Little Walter. Down in Louisiana (release date 2/19/13) lets Bobby’s natural flair for funk fall on every note it touches with a healthy dose of Blues draped on each song as a default. Bobby Rush has the ability to take music that has been handed down and curated throughout decades seem fresh. He sees the making of Down in Louisiana as an extension of his music in a very organic manner, “This album started in the swamps and the juke joints, where my music started and it’s also a brand new thing. Fifty years ago I put this funk together with down-home blues to create my own style. Now, with Down in Louisiana, I’ve done the same thing with Cajun, reggae, pop, rock, and blues.”
Down in Louisiana was co-produced by Bobby and Paul Brown at Ocean Soul Studios in Nashville, TN. The recording, engineering and mixing was handled by Paul Brown, and his attention to detail makes the album glow with an inner fire. The smooth rhythms, guitar distortion and vocals with very inflection firmly attached allows Down in Louisiana lots of the needed breathing room to insure that each nuance and texture gets its due.
“Tight Money” rambles over riff that travels consistently through the song and lets the tale about the shortage of cash feel like that of a store front preacher warning of impending doom. “Don’t You Cry” digs deep into blues and gets a warm embrace from swelling organ, echoed while stretched out notes provide an entryway for Bobby’s voice telling “What Is the Blues” and “Raining in My Heart” takes the pain out of the story line by letting the words bounce along over a percolating rhythm. There is a lot of humor and good will in the music of Bobby Rush. “Swing Low” uses biblical stories as a background for modern time inspiration and “You Just Like A Dresser” brings a smile to finger-pointing judgments like “you’re just like a dresser, somebody’s always ramblin’ in your drawers.”
Bobby Rush is the reigning king of the Chitlin’ Circuit, the name given the network of clubs, theaters, dance halls, and juke joints that first sprang up in the 1920’s to serve the musical needs of black audiences during the days of segregation. Bobby Rush is proud to take up the torch for the tradition, “what I do goes back to the days of black vaudeville and Broadway, and – with my dancers on stage – even back to Africa. It’s a spiritual thing, entwined with the deepest black roots, and with Down in Louisiana I’m taking those roots in a new direction so all kinds of audiences can experience my music and what it’s about.”
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