Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Otis Rush - All Your Love (I Miss Loving)

I loved that first Bluesbreakers LP with John Mayall and Eric Clapton. I'd never heard Otis Rush at the time, where would I have heard that? I knew Clapton from the Yardbirds, and I bought the Mayall LP on spec. Good choice. Otis Rush came into focus for me later on.

Back in the mid-1960s, all of the white guitar players talked about B.B. King, or maybe Muddy Waters, as influences. They were important, but it was only about five percent of the story. B.B. King deserved all of the credit and acclaim that he received, but somehow no one mentioned T. Bone Walker. Except B.B. that is, and even that was later on. Lonnie Johnson? No one ever mentioned him, not that I know of. Those were technique guys, but how about tone? Guitar Slim was a guy who really pushed the overdrive in those early Fender amps; Johnny "Guitar" Watson was always out there, too. Bo Diddley played harder and heavier than anybody in the late 1950s, but you never heard much praise for him as a guitar player. There are so many fellows that you just never heard much about at all. Earl Hooker, oh hell, if I make a list I'll just leave important musicians out.

To their credit, a lot of those young English musicians listened to some great records, and learned some great lessons. Eric, and John Mayall, had obviously studied the hell out of those early 1960s Otis Rush records on Cobra out of Chicago. It's nice that some fellows stood on stage and mentioned B.B. King during their shows, in the midst of playing the guitar with influences from B.B. and others. I don't find anything objectionable about being influenced in one's playing, it's music after all. All music is theft. It would have been nicer though, and more polite, to have mentioned some of the guys that were being quoted extensively but never recognized, like Otis Rush on the Bluesbreakers LP.

I have a hunch that Otis came out of it okay. He seems to have had a very full career playing on stage, so he probably made a living while he was at it. He's no kid anymore, and I think he's retired by now. He was born in 1935, making him 82 years old as of this writing. The documents are out there for history to see and hear. I have a hunch that people will be listening to Otis for a long, long time. The man could play.

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