Bobby Rush – Chicken Heads

15th August 2022 · 1960s, 1969, Blues, Funk, Music, Soul

Here’s a steamy gumbo of blues, soul and funk from Louisiana to suit the last day of sultry summer weather, from Bobby Rush.

In a reversal of the usual story of early fame fizzling out, Bobby Rush was in his dotage before he found wider recognition.

That came in 2003 when he was 70, courtesy of an appearance in Martin Scorsese’s TV series about the blues. And he was in his Eighties when he was finally nominated for a Grammy.

Born in Louisiana back in 1933, he was in his teens when his preacher father moved the famly to Alabama, where he became friends with Elmore James and Ike Turner,

Still in his teens formed his first band, donning a false moustache to look old enough to play the local juke joints.

In 1953 the family took the well-trodden route north to Chicago, where Rush fronted blues bands with Luther Allison and Freddie King.

His neighbours included Muddy Waters and Little Walter, who became friends, and he went on to perform with Howlin’ Wolf, Jimmy Reed and Etta James.

He had been releasing singles for more than a decade, developing a unique blend of funky blues and saucy lyrics filled with double entendres, before recording his first album with Philly legends Gamble and Huff in 1978.

This is the most successful of those early singles. Recorded in 1969, showcasing his evolution towards the swamp-rock style pioneered by his fellow Louisiana native Tony Joe White.