Otis Rush (1935-2018)

Yesterday I learnt that Otis Rush had passed away on September 29. I seem to miss a lot of news, albeit Otis Rush was not a very famous pop artists or similar. He is one of my favorite blues artists and composers. His career was not very smooth, and he struggled with ill-health at times. He influenced many, I think one can hear him especially in Eric Clapton and Peter Green. While often white blues men have made a lot of money while the original black artists have not, Clapton has always to his credit, credited his musical ancestors. Otis also had a lot less commercial success than e.g. B.B. King and Buddy Guy, who both had/have more outgoing stage personalities, and also worked more consistently.

When I was younger, I did see some blues live. E.g. B.B. King, Albert Collins, and even real old timers like Johnny Shines, Robert Jr Lockwood and Champion Jack Dupree. I never got to see Otis. He had both very personal guitar playing style, and also a characteristic warm voice. He was also one of the best modern blues composers.

Otis maybe most famous composition (and more complex than most blues tunes, I venture to say): All Your Love (original)

One of my most favorite studio music moments, any genre: Double Trouble. The sound, the mood, just something magic and haunting about it. Linked is later released version of original with some studio talk before they start.

Right Place, Wrong Time. Title song from one of the few times he had opportunity to have a real production of recording. Recorded in 1971, but released in 1976. Otis had to buy the recording in order to release it. Blues artists (and not only they) have had some bad experiences or just bad luck with recording labels over the years. The recording industry is not the most ethical, to make an understatement. Sometimes I guess it is the “suits” that are the problem. This album is a masterpiece. The only original vinyl I have of Otis.

So Many Roads, So Many Trains, live in Japan, 1975.

Many clips with Otis Rush on the youtube.

Otis Rush official site

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