Otis Rush ‘I’m not satisfied: the 1956-1962 Cobra, Chess and Duke sides’ (Soul Jam) 5/5

Otis_RushChicago rightly has a special place in the history of the blues and with the large-scale migration of African-Americans from the south to the north of the country, new stars were emerging during the 1950s. One of these was Otis Rush and his classics sides recorded in the windy city are chronicled here on this tremendous anthology which serves as an ideal starting point for anyone who wishes to discover what electric blues is all about. If any single song defines Rush’s craft, then it is surely ‘I can’t qui you baby’ which bassist Willie Dixon first wrote specifically for Otis as he revealed in his superb autobiography. After several attempts at rendering the lyrics with sufficient emotion, Rush suddenly found the right groove and an instant classic was thus born. However, this number is far from the only indispensable song on offer and eight compositions in total were actually written by Dixon who performs on no less than twenty overall with other musicians including Lafayette Peake on piano, Fred Below on drums and Little Walter on harmonica. In short, the crème de la crème of Chicago blues musicians of just about any era. Among other classics, ‘I’m satisfied’, the big band sounding ‘Keep on loving me baby’ and the sudden shift in tempo of ‘All you love’ all impress. Many of these, including the stunning ‘Double trouble’, have subsequently become standards and been covered by the blues and rock fraternity. An informative sixteen page booklet has photos galore, original label 45s and fascinating posters of the era. All help to evoke what the atmosphere in Chicago was like at the time. Tim Stenhouse