Bobby Rush


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"Folk funk" is what Bobby Rush has been calling his brand of Southern-fried blues and soul for several years, and now it's the title for the second release on his own Deep Rush label, and guess what, folks, it is quite likely the best album he's ever done. Joined by Alvin Youngblood Hart on guitar and Charlie Jenkins on drums, with Rush handling nigh everything else, the sound for Folkfunk is stripped down to a basic rhythmic force, and freed from the synthesized keyboards that often marred his earlier releases, it makes a sparse and powerful statement, a bit like John Lee Hooker working with a solid funk trio. Rumour has it that the whole album was recorded in one five-hour session, which may account for its unified tone. Among the high points are a thumping "Uncle Esau," a wonderful version of Percy Mayfield's "River's Invitation," and a revisit to Rush's classic "Chicken Heads," here called "Chicken Heads -Refried." On "Saints Gotta Move" Rush grafts "When the Saints Go Marching In" to "You Gotta Move" in a rousing synthesis. By stripping away any excess instrumentation, Folkfunk allows Rush's truly excessive (and frequently bawdy) persona to shine through in all its glory, making this easily one of his best outings.

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