Bobby Rush

Sitting on Top of the Blues

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AllMusic Review by Mark Deming

Bobby Rush cut his first single in 1964, when he was already 31 years old, and 55 years later, the man is not only still making music, but he still sounds like a credibly raunchy love man at a time when most folks his age can hardly be bothered to get up off the couch. The swampy funk that was a major part of Rush's musical personality in his salad days is in short supply on 2019's Sitting on Top of the Blues, but his gift for grafting together deep soul and barroom-ready blues is as strong as ever, and the rough insistence of his vocals connects when he wraps his voice around his various tales of women trying to get the better of him (at least when he's not busy trying to get the better of them). The vibe of Sitting on Top of the Blues is laid-back but not lazy; the grooves are easygoing but dogged on numbers like "Slow Motion" and "Pooky Poo," the acoustic country blues of "Recipe for Love" cuts deep without electricity, and "Good Stuff" and "You Got the Goods on You" shows Rush still knows how to write a song that can bring his fans to the dance floor. The arrangements and production are crisp and straightforward, without much in the way of instrumental showboating but full of taut guitar work and some fine harp blowing from Rush. (And unlike many of his albums of the '90s and 2000s, Rush appears to have actual human beings playing the drums here, and it sure makes a difference.) At this point in his career, Rush shouldn't be expected to creatively reinvent himself, and that doesn't happen on Sitting on Top of the Blues. But he's not just in full command of his talents here, he's making better use of them in the studio than he did on most of his sessions in the '90s and 2000s, and the result is an album as satisfying as 2016's Grammy-winning Porcupine Meat.

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