Chicken Heads: A 50-Year History of Bobby Rush

Chicken Heads: A 50-Year History of Bobby Rush

by Bobby RushBobby Rush


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Bobby Rush scored just one hit single -- "Chicken Heads," which went to 34 on the R&B charts in 1971 -- but, then again, his career coincided with the slow sunset of blues being a charting concern. He started recording on his own in 1967, just as soul-blues -- a grooving, horn-spiked hybrid popularized by B.B. King and Bobby "Blue" Bland -- started to rise but he also spent some time up in Chicago, playing a bit with Muddy Waters and Jimmy Reed, urban connections that rarely surfaced in his music of the '70s, '80s, and beyond. What Rush specialized in was groove. He pushed soul-blues into previously uncharted funky territory, working that groove so hard he sometimes wound up in the province of disco. This suggests how Bobby Rush slyly adapted to the times while never seeming to pander, an ability that's showcased in Omnivore's wildly entertaining and illuminating four-disc history, Chicken Heads. Styles change -- he gets down and dirty with Chicago shuffles, he layers on horns just a few years later, he plays with disco until it passes, synthesizers come into vogue, he even rides some of the neo-roots movement of the 21st century -- but Bobby Rush remains the same, always a bold, bawdy singer who nevertheless is cannier than his ribald reputation suggests. Rush not only knows how to ride the rhythms but he slides into a song, which is why his soul-blues isn't just funk but also sexy. He enjoys playing with both the groove and his phrasing, and that's what gives the music serious life when the surroundings are super slick...which they often are, particularly in the records from the '80s and '90s. On an individual album basis, that clean, glossy sheen can be too glaring but when it's distilled into this history, it's appealing because it's seen in the context of an artist who's constantly on the move, constantly finding ways to adapt to what's hot without ever losing sight of who he is. That's a story that can only be told on a box set and that's why Chicken Heads is so valuable: it shows all the ways Bobby Rush kept the blues alive.

Product Details

Release Date: 11/27/2015
Label: Omnivore Recordings
UPC: 0816651015177
catalogNumber: 101517
Rank: 3974

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Bobby Rush   Primary Artist
Fred Humphrey   Conductor

Technical Credits

Willie Dixon   Composer
Percy Mayfield   Composer
Elvin Bishop   Liner Notes
Jerry Butler   Composer
Green   Composer
Jerry Harrison   Producer
Rufus Thomas   Composer
Cleveland Eaton   Producer
Jim Ford   Composer
Denise LaSalle   Liner Notes
Bobby Rush   Arranger,Composer,Producer,Liner Notes
Sonny Thompson   Composer,Producer
Mark James   Composer
Greg Allen   Art Direction
Ralph Bass   Composer
Bell   Liner Notes
Paul Brown   Arranger,Producer
Calvin Carter   Composer,Producer
Johnny Christopher   Composer
Tommy Couch   Liner Notes
Kenny Gamble   Composer
Leon Huff   Arranger,Composer,Producer,Liner Notes
Jimmy Jones   Composer
McKinley Morganfield   Composer
David Porter   Liner Notes
Lester Snell   Horn Arrangements
Mavis Staples   Liner Notes
Sonny Boy Williamson   Composer
Lolly Vegas   Composer
Bill Dahl   Liner Notes
Cary Baker   Liner Notes
Jerry Murray   Composer
Pat Vegas   Composer
James Bennett   Producer
Wayne Carson Thompson   Composer
Donald Markowitz   Composer,Producer
Carl Wolfolk   Composer
Barry Despenza   Composer,Producer
Maurice Dollison   Composer
Jerry-O   Producer
Carl Gustafson   Composer
Cody Dickinson   Producer
Eddie Jones   Composer
Johnny Moore   Composer,Producer
Bryan George   Licensing
James Ford   Composer
Greg Preston   Producer
Lawrence "Boo" Mitchell   Producer,Horn Arrangements
Benjamin Wright   Arranger,Liner Notes
Martin Shore   Producer
Cedric Coleman   Composer
Ben Wright   Arranger
Mabon Hodges Lewis   Composer
Jeff DeLia   Art Manager
James VanLear   Composer
Fred Humphrey   Arranger

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