Blues, Songs and Ballads is a 23-song collection combining two albums that Tom Rush recorded in 1963 (Got a Mind to Ramble and Blues, Songs and Ballads) on a single CD. Rush plays acoustic guitar, accompanied only by Fritz Richmond on washtub bass, for a selection of almost exclusively traditional material; the only track penned by Rush himself is the opener, "Duncan and Brady." This anthology is definitive early-'60s Cambridge coffeehouse music, which means that it's a bit quaintly dated, and also that it's Sunday-morning listening in the good sense of the term. Rush plays accomplished acoustic guitar and sings with calm authority, though he's no one's ideal bluesman (or even ideal white bluesman). The traditional blues covers, which dominated the original Blues, Songs and Ballads LP (now the second part of this CD), can sound pretty callow; the folkier ones work better, one highlight being the instrumental "Mole's Moan," penned by a young Maria Muldaur.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Richie Unterberger