Title - 'Rawer Than Raw'
Artist - Bobby Rush
For those not in the know, on August 28th, 2020, Grammy-winning blues icon Bobby Rush will release his brand new album, Rawer Than Raw, 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 in partnership with Thirty Tigers, 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.'
1. 'Down In Mississippi'
2. 'Hard Times'
3. 'Let Me In Your House'
4. 'Smokestack Lightning'
5. 'Shake It For Me'
6. 'Sometimes I Wonder'
7. 'Don't Start Me Talkin''
8. 'Let's Make Love Again'
9. 'Honey Bee, Sail On'
10. 'Garbage Man'
11. 'Dust My Broom'
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.
Along with five Rush originals (all credited under his given name, Emmett Ellis, Jr.), there's a song from Skip James, Robert Johnson, Sonny Boy Williamson, Willie Dixon, and Howlin' Wolf. One song is Public Domain originally recorded for the Library of Congress by Alan Lomax, but later made famous by Muddy Waters ('Honey Bee, Sail On').
On this earthy, indeed raw and sawdust svelte-lined 11-track album, Rush kicks things off with the smoothly harmonica-driven 'Down In Mississippi' and backs that up with the slow, one-two groove of' Hard Times,' then the foot-tappin' 'Let Me In Your House,' and then we get two of my own personal favorites here, the hard-harmonica vibe of 'Smokestack Lightning' and the hip-shakin', guitar-picking funk of 'Shake It For Me.'
Long considered one of the blues’ preeminent raconteurs, Rush continues onward with the quietly playful guitar work of 'Sometimes I Wonder,' which is followed by the perky 'Don't Start Me Talkin',' and yet another doozy, the rousing, foot-tappin', harmonica-embroidered 'Let's Make Love Again.'
Rounding out this stunningly spiritual sequel to his 2007 all-original album Raw, we next get more ornately finger-picked guitar on 'Honey Bee, Sail On,' with more harmonica coming to the fore again on 'Garbage Man,' and then the album comes to a close on the mid-tempo rocker 'Dust My Broom.'
“Although I was born in Louisiana, I’m proud to call Mississippi home,” says Rush, who moved to Jackson, Mississippi, 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.”
"“I could have done so many more people, but you can only put 10, 11 songs on a CD,” Rush adds, and hints at plans to honor other artists in a similar way, perhaps focusing on performers from the other Southern states where he has lived, Arkansas and Louisiana. “This doesn’t mean these are the only people that I love or respect.”
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