Bobby Rush | Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Bobby Rush 

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BOBBY RUSH

Louisiana-born bluesman Bobby Rush hit Chicago in the early 50s. By the mid-60s he had a series of local recordings under his belt, but it wasn't until 1968's "Gotta Have Money," on ABC-Paramount, that his blend of R & B urgency and sly down-home wisdom solidified into the distinctive personal style that Rush describes as "folk funk." That's a perfect appellation--his music is contemporary in the soul-blues vein, but his lyrics and stage show hark back to the venerable heritage of minstrelsy, ribald toasts, the dozens, and fables told in rhyme. In the gender-sensitive 90s, some critics have found him a bit over-the-top: songs like "Wearing It Out," "Sue," and "She Caught Me With My Pants Down" leave little to the imagination--and what they don't reveal, his nubile coed dance line probably will. But his tales always have a moral--often an admonition to treat women with love and kindness, despite the vicissitudes of romance and the lure of temptation--and even at his most lascivious he tempers his machismo with irony and a refusal to take himself too seriously. Friday, 9:30 PM, Rosa's, 3420 W. Armitage; 342-0452.

DAVID WHITEIS

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): Photograph of Bobby Rush by James Fraher.

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