Sunday, March 10, 2013

Otis Rush's Classic Cobra Recordings.

A new reissue of Otis Rush s classic Cobra recordings has been released by Fuel 2000 who  licensed the material fromJewel/Paula. The Essential Otis Rush, The Classic Cobra Recordings 1956-1958 includes all eight singles that Rush recorded  (and all produced  Willie Dixon) along with eight alternate takes. Not every Cobra recording was memorable and little that even Rush’s fervent singing could salvage such as Violent Love, but on smoldering slow blues like I Can’t Quit You Baby, My Love Will Never Die, Groaning the Blues and Double Trouble, as well as uptempo numbers Three Times a Fool and All My Loving (I Miss Loving) (the Mayall version with Clapton on guitar pales in comparison). 

Rush sang here with an intensity matched by few in blues history and complemented that with some stinging guitar (although Ike Turner may be the lead guitarist on Double Trouble). In addition to Willie Dixon, others on the original sessions included guitarists Turner, Wayne Bennett and Louis Myers, Little Walter and Walter Horton on harp; saxophonists Harold Ashby, Red Holloway and Jackie Brenston, pianists Lafayette Leake and Little Brother Montgomery, and drummers Odie Payne and Al Duncan.

Rush's Cobra recordings produced some of the most intense examples of the West Side Chicago Blues style that developed in the fifties and remain classic almost 60 years later.

This review was written in late 2000 and this review likely originally appeared in the DC Blues Calendar around that time, although I have made some stylistic changes from what I originally wrote for clarity purposes. This particular reissue is out-of-print but might be found used. There are other CDs that also reissue Rush's Cobra recordings if not all of the alternate takes. 

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