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Down In Louisiana

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Album Review

Bobby Rush has been cranking out albums cut from the same cloth for so long that it's fair to ask what's the difference with 2013's Down in Louisiana. As it turns out, the answer is plenty. Departing from his signature slicked-back soul-blues, Rush strips his band down to the basics — guitar, bass, drums, keyboard, accentuated with a little accordion on occasion — abandoning the horns and getting down and dirty, a shift that's evident even on his standard glad-handing charmers like "I Ain't the One." Too often, that glossy veneer and showboating obscured Rush's considerable skills as a guitarist and vocalist, so the switch on Down in Louisiana does him some considerable favors. Down in Louisiana packs a gut-level punch that feels even more bracing after years, even decades, of glossy grooves, so this is a sheer sonic pleasure, but what makes the record really work is that Rush doesn't abandon his signatures. He still can't resist a dirty joke ("Bowlegged Woman"), he still grinds out funky vamps like "Rock This House" — he's not digging deep, he's still all about having a very, very good time. Thing of it is, by getting a little dirt underneath his fingernails, he's wound up with a record that will not only please his legions of fans, but an album that will convince doubters that this 77-year-old bluesman is something of a modern-day blues legend.

Biography

Born: November 10, 1940 in Homer, LA

Genre: Blues

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

The creator of a singular sound which he dubbed "folk-funk," multi-instrumentalist Bobby Rush was among the most colorful characters on the contemporary chitlin circuit, honing a unique style which brought together a cracked lyrical bent with elements of blues, soul, and funk. Born Emmit Ellis, Jr. in Homer, LA, on November 10, 1940, he and his family relocated to Chicago in 1953, where he emerged on the West Side blues circuit of the 1960s, fronting bands which included such notable alumni as Luther...
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Down In Louisiana, Bobby Rush
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