Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Otis Rush
Double Trouble Live Cambridge 1973
Rock Beat

Joe’s Place in Cambridge, Massachusetts in the seventies must have been quite a place as Joe mentions Brownie McGhee and Sonny Terry along with Lowell Fulson as upcoming acts before he introduced Otis Rush for a night of blues. Rush that night was backed by Little Bo on tenor sax, Ernest Gatewood on bass and Bob Richey (not Richards as mistakenly spelled on the back cover) on drums.

Rush, until a severe stroke in 2004 curtailed his career, was one of the most revered blues artists bringing some of the strongest modern blues guitar playing which was matched by his angushed singing. This recording has some uneven sound quality (Little Bo is somehwat muffled on the opening "Watermelon Man"), but the brilliance of Rush's playing doesn't suffer in the mix. The program here includes several renditions of Rush's Cobra recordings including "It Takes Time," "I Can't Quit You Baby," Keep On Loving Me," and "Double Trouble," along with several numbers associated with B.B. King, including "Gambler's Blues" (which became identified with Otis), and "Why I Sing the Blues." In addition to the instrumental warm-up of "Watermelon Man," there are a couple James Brown numbers, an instrumental workout on "Popcorn" (as much a feature for Little Bo who is more audible here), and the closing "Please, Please, Please," and inspired playing on Rush's instrumental treatment of Ike and Tina Turner's "I Think It's Gonna Work Out Fine." This latter number has more saxophone from Little Bo, demonstrating why Rush described him as the little man with the big sound..

Frank Scott provides an overview of Rush's career and a brief description of the performance in the accompanying booklet.

I purchased this. Here is Otis' rendition of "Gambler's Blues" from this performance.

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