King of Chitlin’ Circuit Bobby Rush still groovin’ into his 80s: SXSW 2014

One of the highlights of my time at SXSW 2014 was seeing Mr. Bobby Rush (who was nominated this past year for a 2014 GRAMMY Award in Best Blues Album for “Down In Louisiana”). There is a bit of discrepancy as to his age. He told the audience he was 81, however Wikipedia says 73. According to The Encyclopedia of Arkansas Music (where he lived for a while), “Bobby Rush, known as the ‘King of the Chitlin’ Circut’…was born Emmett Ellis Jr…in 1935, however the 1940 census lists him as three years old.” It’s a mystery. But what is clear is how incredible a performer, guitar player, blues vocalist and harp player this man is. He has been on over 200 records and played with the likes of Muddy Waters, Willie Dixon, Bobby “Blue” Bland, BB King, and Johnnie Taylor.

Here Bobby Rush is on harmonica and vocals for a soulful cover of The Beatles “Come Together”


And here he is with the title track from his GRAMMY-nominated album “Down In Louisiana”:

Me smiling ear to ear getting to meet the incomparable Bobby Rush.
Me smiling ear to ear getting to meet the incomparable Bobby Rush.

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