Home Read Now Hear This: Bobby Rush | Rawer Than Raw

Now Hear This: Bobby Rush | Rawer Than Raw

I'm still getting caught up on all the good albums I missed last week. Like this one.

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THE PRESS RELEASE:Grammy-winning blues icon Bobby Rush’s Rawer Than Raw is a stripped-down, acoustic tribute to the rich blues history of Mississippi featuring songs from a handful of blues greats from his adopted home state. The record, on the 86-year-old’s own Deep Rush Records label, is a follow-up to Rush’s Grammy-nominated 2019 album Sitting on Top of the Blues, and his first project since his acclaimed cameo in last year’s Golden Globe-nominated Eddie Murphy film hit Dolemite Is My Name. Partly inspired by the popular series of intimate solo concerts Rush has made a mainstay of his concert calendar in the years since his first all-acoustic album (titled Raw), Rawer Than Raw casts a spotlight on five Mississippi Blues Hall of Famers: early acoustic blues greats Skip James and Robert Johnson, and Rush’s contemporaries on the music scene of the ’50s and ’60s, Howlin’ Wolf, Sonny Boy Williamson II, and Muddy Waters. The record features a half dozen covers of some of their best-known songs rendered in Rush’s own inimitable, acoustic style, characterized by wailing harmonica and a stomping foot to keep the rhythm. There are also five Rush originals — Down in Mississippi, Let Me in Your House, Sometimes I Wonder, Let’s Make Love Again, and Garbage Man, all credited under his given name, Emmett Ellis, Jr. — whose country vibe matches the songs that inspired the album. “Although I was born in Louisiana, I’m proud to call Mississippi home,” says Rush, who moved to Jackson, Miss., in the 1980s and traces his family connections to the Magnolia State back to his great grandparents. “I’m saluting Mississippi guys because they, to me, stayed truest to their roots. If you want to get the real deal of the blues, get it from the bluesmen who are from Mississippi. Whether they migrated somewhere else like Chicago or Beverly Hills, if they are from Mississippi you can hear the deep roots of Mississippi in their stories.”