Bobby Rush (musician)

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Bobby Rush
Birth name Emmit Ellis Jr.
Born (1933-11-10) November 10, 1933 (age 81)
Homer, Louisiana, United States
Origin Pine Bluff, Arkansas, United States
Genres blues, electric blues[1]
Occupation(s) Singer, songwriter
Instruments Vocals, guitar, harmonica
Years active 1951;Early 1960s–present
Labels Various

Bobby Rush (born November 10, 1933, Homer, Louisiana, United States) is an American blues musician, composer and singer.[1] His style incorporates elements of blues, rap and funk.


Born Emmit Ellis, Jr. in Homer, Louisiana, Rush was the son of Ellis Sr. and Mattie Ellis. His father was a pastor whose guitar and harmonica playing provided early musical influences. As a young child he began experimenting with music using a sugar-cane syrup-bucket and a broom-wire diddley bow. Around 1946, he and the family moved to Pine Bluff, Arkansas where his father took on the pastorate of a church. It was here that Rush would become friends with Elmore James, slide-player Boyd Gilmore (Elmore's cousin), and piano-player Moose John Walker; eventually forming a band to support his singing, as well as harp and guitar playing.

Still a teen, Rush donned a fake moustache to play in local juke joints with the band fascinated by enthusiasm of the crowds. His family relocated to Chicago in 1953 where he became part of the local blues scene in the following decade.[1]

It was in the early 1970s that his self-penned "Chicken Heads" cracked the Billboard R&B chart on Galaxy, after being picked up from a small label started by former Vee Jay Records producer, Calvin Carter (#34, 1971). He later recorded with leading black music label, Philadelphia International, releasing his first album, Rush Hour produced by Leon Huff, with one track, I Wanna Do The Do also charting in 1979 (#75).

In the early 1980s, he moved to Jackson, Mississippi, where he recorded a series of records for the LaJam label, Malaco's Waldoxy imprint, and in 2003, his own Deep Rush label with partner Greg Preston, a former Malaco Records executive. One of the artists on the label is Crystal Springs, Mississippi native and former band mate Dexter Allen. 2004's FolkFunk was a return to a more rootsier sound, featuring guitarist Alvin Youngblood Hart. He appeared in the film, The Road to Memphis which is part of the series The Blues, produced by Martin Scorsese. Rush was also a judge for the second annual Independent Music Awards to support independent artists' careers.[2]

Rush received recognition for his music after the release of his 22nd album Rush, when he was awarded "Best Male Soul Blues Artist" at the Blues Music Awards. He also received "best acoustic artist" and "best acoustic album" for his album Raw. His album, Hoochie Mama was nominated for a Grammy award in the blues music section in 2000. His most recent albums are Show You A Good Time (2011) on Deep Rush and Down in Louisiana (2013) on Thirty Tigers.[1]

In 2013, Rush was nominated for a Blues Music Award in the 'Soul Blues Male Artist' category.[3] In 2014, Rush's album Down in Louisiana, won a Blues Music Award in the 'Soul Blues Album of the Year' category, whilst Rush was also nominated in two other categories.[4]

In July 2014, Rush performed with Dan Aykroyd one of James Brown's songs on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.[5]

In 2015, Rush won two Blues Music Awards in the 'Soul Blues Male Artist' and 'B.B. King Entertainer of the Year' categories.[6] On June 6, 2015 Rush was inducted into the Official Rhythm & Blues Music Hall of Fame in Clarksdale, MS.


  • 1979 Rush Hour (Philadelphia Intl)
  • 1982 Sue (La Jam)
  • 1984 Gotta Have Money (La Jam)
  • 1985 What's Good for the Goose is Good for the Gander (La Jam)
  • 1990 Man Can Give It But He Can't Take It (La Jam)
  • 1991 I Ain't Studdin' You (Urgent)
  • 1992 Handy Man (Urgent)
  • 1995 She's a Good 'Un (It's Alright)
  • 1995 One Monkey Don't Stop No Show (Waldoxy)
  • 1996 Wearing It Out (La Jam)
  • 1997 It's Alright, Vol. 2
  • 1997 Lovin' a Big Fat Woman (Waldoxy)
  • 1999 Rush Hour... Plus (Philadelphia Intl)
  • 1999 The Best of Bobby Rush (La Jam)
  • 2000 Hoochie Man (Waldoxy)
  • 2003 Undercover Lover (Deep Rush)
  • 2003 Live at Ground Zero DVD + CD (Deep Rush)
  • 2004 Folkfunk (Deep Rush)
  • 2005 Night Fishin (Deep Rush)
  • 2006 Essential Recordings, Volume 1 (Deep Rush)
  • 2006 Essential Recordings, Volume 2 (Deep Rush)
  • 2007 Raw (Deep Rush)
  • 2008 Look at What You Gettin' (Deep Rush)
  • 2009 Blind Snake (Deep Rush)
  • 2011 Show You A Good Time (Deep Rush)
  • 2013 Down in Louisiana (Thirty Tigers)[7][8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d Ankeny, Jason. "Bobby Rush". Allmusic. Retrieved February 26, 2010. 
  2. ^ "Independent Music Awards". Independent Music Awards. Retrieved 2014-05-16. 
  3. ^ "Blues Music Awards Nominees – 2013 – 34th Blues Music Awards". Retrieved 2013-03-21. 
  4. ^ "2014 Blues Music Awards Nominees and Winners". Retrieved 2014-05-16. 
  5. ^ "Dan Aykroyd – Dan Aykroyd Opens Late Night Show With James Brown Tribute". Contact music. Retrieved 2014-07-20. 
  6. ^ "2015 Blues Music Awards Winners". Retrieved 2015-05-18. 
  7. ^ "Bobby Rush | Discography". AllMusic. November 10, 1940. Retrieved 2014-05-16. 
  8. ^ "Bobby Rush : Down in Louisiana Review". Guitarhoo!. March 30, 2013. Retrieved December 31, 2014. 

External links[edit]