Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Bobby Rush: “Down In Louisiana” (2013) CD Review

Is Bobby Rush really 77? You’d never know it from the tunes on his new album, Down In Louisiana. I’d guess he was at least a couple of decades younger because of his energy and attitude. This CD is full of blues, with a good dose of funk. Check out the slow funk groove on “You Just Like A Dresser.” And check out “Rock this House,” which is all about the groove. There is also a Cajun influence on these tracks, as you might guess from the album’s title.

Most of these songs were written by Bobby Rush. Though in “Raining In My Heart,” he sings, “The sun is going to shine in my back door someday,” which of course is not an original line, and I do wonder how many songs use that line. (That song also features a very cool piano section by Paul Brown.)

This is a really good group of songs, my favorite probably being “Don’t You Cry.” And I believe Bobby Rush when, at the beginning of “Boogie In The Dark,” he sings, “I promise you, baby, I’ll never break your heart.” No, there is a faithfulness in these songs – to his fans, to music lovers, to the blues.

And so what is the blues? Well, as Bobby Rush sings, “The blues ain’t nothing but something bothering you on your mind/Try to forget about someone and you think about ‘em, you think about ‘em all the time.” Oh yes, that is certainly the blues.

“Down In Louisiana”

Bobby Rush opens Down In Louisiana with the title track. This song is blues with a good groove and a certain New Orleans flavor that always tastes just right. And at times his voice is so damn smooth it just makes you feel great. You know? Plus, it’s a fun song, with that whatever-you-want-to-do-is-good attitude. 

“Down In Louisiana” was written by Pat Vegas, Lolly Vegas and Jim Ford.

“You Just Like A Dresser”

In “You Just Like A Dresser,” Bobby Rush starts off directly addressing a woman in a cool spoken word bit: “Hey, baby, you know when we first met you promised you’d be true. In fact, you told me that I was the only man in your life. But I done found out everybody knows about my good thing.” Then the song kicks in – “Girl, you just like a dresser/Somebody’s always ramblin’ in your drawers.” One thing I’ve noticed about the blues is that they can make some silly lyrics totally work; they can make a goofy line sound cool and sexy, sometimes even profound.

“I Ain’t The One”

“I Ain’t The One” has a bright, positive feel, due in large part to Bobby Rush’s wonderful harmonica part. But this song also has a bit of reggae, which is inherently positive. This tune will put a smile on your face. Toward the end, Bobby sings, “If you want someone to pay your bills without giving up some thrills, I ain’t the one.”

“I Ain’t The One” was written by Paul Brown.

“Don’t You Cry”

“Don’t You Cry” is a seriously cool slow blues love song. Here is a taste of the lyrics: “You say you been hurt by a previous love affair/He broke your heart beyond repair/So dry your eyes, pretty mama/And please don’t you cry/You love me, and I love you/Together baby, there ain’t nothing we can’t do.” And again, I love his harmonica part, which at one point begins an excellent instrumental section. (Actually, that happens twice in this song.) And then his voice right in your ear at the end saying “Don’t cry, baby” is just perfect. So intimate, so kind, so sexy. I absolutely love this song.

“Tight Money”

“Tight Money” is great raw blues with an angry pulse. In this one, he sings, “I’m poor, poor, poor/Up to my neck/The only time a woman nice to me/Is when I get my check.” I can relate to the idea of money being tight. So can pretty much everyone I know.  It costs too much to live and it costs too much to die.”

“Bowlegged Woman”

“Bowlegged Woman” is another tune with a good, mean groove. It’s a song that combines Chicago and New Orleans – in which he calls out, “Hey little girl in a tight sweater.” Oh yes. I love it when his voice gets low, when he lets you know just what he’s up to, what he wants. And what you want too.

CD Track List

  1. Down In Louisiana
  2. You Just Like A Dresser
  3. I Ain’t The One
  4. Don’t You Cry
  5. Tight Money
  6. Boogie In The Dark
  7. Raining In My Heart
  8. Rock This House
  9. What Is The Blues
  10. Bowlegged Woman
  11. Swing Low


Musicians appearing on this release include Bobby Rush on vocals, harmonica and guitar; Paul Brown on Rhodes, Wurlitzer, piano, Hammond B3 and vocals; Pete Mendillo on drums and percussion; Terry Richardson on bass; Lou Rodriguez on guitar; and April Brown on backing vocals.

Down In Louisiana is scheduled to be released on February 19, 2013 on Deep Rush Records through Thirty Tigers.

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