Home Music After six many years, blues legend Bobby Rush is not slowing down : NPR

After six many years, blues legend Bobby Rush is not slowing down : NPR

After six many years, blues legend Bobby Rush is not slowing down : NPR



By the point Bobby Rush was 9 years previous, he was already working within the cotton fields.

BOBBY RUSH: I wasn’t sufficiently big to cut cotton like my older brothers, so I used to be the water boy. Go getting the water. Generally you stroll a half a mile to get water and are available again. By the point you get that bucket of water to the employees within the subject, it is time to go get one other bucket of water.

KELLY: It was the Nineteen Forties, rural Louisiana, midway between Homer and Haynesville.

RUSH: There’s nothing on the market however a barn and a pair mules and a pair cows, ?

KELLY: However there was additionally music.


RUSH: My dad had been a preacher, and he had a previous radio. At evening when he goes to sleep, I’d listening to John R., WLAC Radio.


LIGHTNIN’ HOPKINS: (Singing) Oh, child.

RUSH: And, man, Lightnin’ Hopkins or Muddy Waters, anyone come on. (Singing) Oh, yeah. Every part, every little thing, every little thing gonna be all proper.

So wow. That is what I wish to do.

KELLY: Actually? You knew if you have been that little that is…

RUSH: Yeah.

KELLY: I do not simply wish to hear it. I wish to do it.

RUSH: Yeah. Yeah.


HOPKINS: (Singing) Gonna be all proper.

KELLY: Younger Bobby Rush made good on that promise. He grew as much as be a prolific blues musician, touring in the identical circles as B.B. King and Buddy Man and Elmore James. And he by no means actually slowed down. At 89 years previous, he’s out now with a brand new album known as “All My Love For You.”


RUSH: (Singing) We come a great distance, however I obtained an extended solution to go. Issues I used to do down in Louisiana, I do not do no extra.

KELLY: After we sat down to talk, I began by asking about his childhood rising up within the Jim Crow South with a Black father and a mom who handed as white.

RUSH: I simply keep in mind going to high school or going out someplace, she would inform those who she was babysitting me. She needed to deny me as a mother. And my daddy was – when he was round, he was her chauffeur and her husband and my father once we obtained house. And if I look again on it now when she was white, when she wished to be or needed to be. She was a Black girl when she wished to be or needed to be. However I did not know till I obtained older how devastating that was.

KELLY: That is loads for a kid to hold.

RUSH: Yeah. Yeah. However I did not know that early. I did not know that till I obtained 12 years previous earlier than I knew concerning the black and white problem. I did not learn about that.


RUSH: (Singing) After I awakened, the sky opened up and poured down with rain.

KELLY: You grew up. You left house. You ultimately left house and settled in Chicago. You began touring golf equipment, golf equipment that – like, this may later be referred to as the chitlin circuit.

RUSH: Yeah.

KELLY: Is that proper? Clarify.

RUSH: Yeah. Sure. It is nothing however a juke joint. It is chitlin circuit. I’d see – Black individuals did not write concerning the chiltin circuit. Properly, white individuals who wrote concerning the chitlin circuit. But when chitlin circuit was a factor that Black males like myself and Muddy Waters and Howlin’ Wolf, all these guys, we was paid chitlins.

KELLY: Chitlins, I ought to clarify, for individuals who have not had the pleasure are…

RUSH: Hog gut.

KELLY: …Fried hog intestines.

RUSH: Sure.

KELLY: And so they style loads higher than that sounds.

RUSH: Yeah (laughter). It do not sound dangerous to me as a result of I am a rustic boy. I come out of that. However if you stated chitlins, you are saying like steak, ? I keep in mind I used to be so good in 1949 and ’50, the person would make me three sizzling canine, two bowl of chitlins; and he would make me a hamburger, that I’d eat one and promote the remainder of them. He wasn’t paying however $3 an evening, so I used to be promoting sufficient to make me one other $3. That is $6.

KELLY: Yeah.

RUSH: Man. Man, that is some huge cash. I had $6 for me and three guys. We get $2 a chunk, man. We have been – oh.


RUSH: (Singing) Received to have cash, child. Received to get cash, y’all.

KELLY: You stated white individuals used that time period, and Black individuals did not. Do you resent the time period now, chitlin circuit?

RUSH: No, I do not resent the time period. Possibly some individuals do. However I hate that it is not defined as properly. Possibly Muddy Waters or B.B. King was completely different as a result of I am not mad concerning the race factor. I do not speak concerning the Black and white problem. I speak concerning the misuse of it and the way they did not give me the chance as a result of I am being Black.


RUSH: (Singing) Daddy advised me on his dying mattress…

KELLY: When did issues actually begin to click on for you?

RUSH: 1968, after I went to Vee-Jay Data and I advised him I had a file known as “Chick Head.”


RUSH: (Singing) You come alongside, woman, what did I do?

He is stated, “Chick Head.” We will not write no file “Chick Head” He stated, you imply “Hen Head.” I stated, sure, sir, “Hen Head.” He stated, yeah, you are from down South. They eat hen head. He stated, properly, how the tune go, boy? I stated, Daddy advised me on a dyin’ mattress. Quit the guts, however do not lose your head. You got here alongside, woman. What did I do? Misplaced my coronary heart, and my head went, too – which had nothing to do with a hen.


RUSH: (Singing) Let me in. Let me in. Let me in. Let me ease on in.

KELLY: I will fast-forward us. Let me fast-forward us all the best way to 2017 – should have been a banner yr ‘trigger you received your first Grammy. You have been 83 years previous.

RUSH: Eighty-three years previous – younger man.

KELLY: What did that imply? This was on your album, “Porcupine Meat.”


RUSH: I did not know nothing concerning the Grammys or no matter. My producer Desmond stated, Bobby Rush, you bought a tune that you simply suppose you wish to placed on? Yeah, I obtained a tune I wish to placed on. I used to be afraid to inform him. I stated, it is known as “Porcupine Meat.” He stated, porcupine meat, and laughed at me, ? He stated, what that imply? That imply if you’re in love with a lady. You understand she do not imply you no good. However each time I depart, I come again for extra. Now, that is porcupine meat – too fats to eat and too lean to throw away.


KELLY: It sounds such as you’re having enjoyable.

RUSH: I’ve enjoyable with every little thing I do. I’ve enjoyable every single day. Daily I stand up is enjoyable as a result of after I take into consideration what it might have been, I am so grateful for what it’s.

KELLY: Properly, after which talking of getting enjoyable, three years go by, and also you win one other Grammy…

RUSH: Yeah.

KELLY: …Your second, on the age of 86.

RUSH: Yeah, doing what I wish to do and what I wished to do on a regular basis, was strip my music all the way down to the naked storytelling.


RUSH: That is all I wished to inform. And my complete music is concerning the storytelling It is concerning the pencil, what I write about.


KELLY: So right here you’re, 89 years previous. You have obtained a brand new album. Does it really feel such as you’ve performed what you got here to this earth to do?

RUSH: I’ve accomplished doing what I wish to do, and having stated all of the issues I want to say. I can say a number of the issues I wished to say after I was youthful, and I could not say it then.

KELLY: Like what? What are you able to say now that you simply could not say if you have been younger?

RUSH: I feel I can say one thing as a person, as a blues man and as a Black man. If I could make it as a rustic boy, farmer, as a Black man, actually you’ll be able to, too. That is the assertion. As a result of if you fall and also you wallow in it, that is no good. However if you fall and mud your self off, stand up. Do it time and again and time and again. Do not surrender on your self or something you consider in. However simply be sure to do it good. That is what I try my complete life about, being good at what I do. You might not like previous Bobby Rush. All you’ll be able to say, I do not like him, however d***, he good.

KELLY: Bobby Rush. His new album known as “All My Love For You.” Thanks.

RUSH: Thanks very a lot for having me. You are actually welcome.


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