Thursday, June 8, 2023

Otis Rush - Mourning In The Morning (1969 us, stunning electric chicago blues, feat Duane Allman, 2006 remaster)

Breaking into the R&B Top Ten his very first time out in 1956 with the startlingly intense slow blues "I Can't Quit You Baby," southpaw guitarist Otis Rush subsequently established himself as one of the premier bluesmen on the Chicago circuit. Rush was often credited with being one of the architects of the West Side guitar style, along with Magic Sam and Buddy Guy. It was a nebulous honor, since Rush played clubs on Chicago's South Side just as frequently during the sound's late-'50s incubation period. Nevertheless, his esteemed status as a prime Chicago innovator was eternally assured by the ringing, vibrato-enhanced guitar work that remained his stock in trade and a tortured, super-intense vocal delivery that could force the hairs on the back of your neck upwards in silent salute. If talent alone were the formula for widespread success, Rush would certainly have been Chicago's leading blues artist. But fate, luck, and the guitarist's own idiosyncrasies conspired to hold him back on several occasions when opportunity was virtually begging to be accepted.

Rush came to Chicago in 1948, met Muddy Waters, and knew instantly what he wanted to do with the rest of his life. The omnipresent Willie Dixon caught Rush's act and signed him to Eli Toscano's Cobra Records in 1956. The frighteningly intense "I Can't Quit You Baby" was the maiden effort for both artist and label, streaking to number six on Billboard's R&B chart. His 1956-1958 Cobra legacy is a magnificent one, distinguished by the Dixon-produced minor-key masterpieces "Double Trouble" and "My Love Will Never Die," the tough-as-nails "Three Times a Fool" and "Keep on Loving Me Baby," and the rhumba-rocking classic "All Your Love (I Miss Loving)." Rush apparently dashed off the latter tune in the car en route to Cobra's West Roosevelt Road studios, where he would cut it with the nucleus of Ike Turner's combo.

After Cobra closed up shop, Rush's recording fortunes mostly floundered. He followed Dixon over to Chess in 1960, cutting another classic (the stunning "So Many Roads, So Many Trains") before moving on to Duke (one solitary single, 1962's "Homework"), Vanguard, and Cotillion (there he cut the underrated Mike Bloomfield-Nick Gravenites-produced 1969 album Mourning in the Morning, with yeoman help from the house rhythm section in Muscle Shoals). The house band (including Duane Allman and drummer Roger Hawkins) picks up on Rush's harrowing vibe and runs with it on the stunning "Gambler's Blues," a chomping "Feel So Bad," and a shimmering instrumental treatment of Aretha Franklin's "Baby I Love You." 
by Bill Dahl
1. Me (Mike Bloomfield, Nick Gravenites) - 2:55
2. Working Man (Mike Bloomfield, Nick Gravenites) - 2:25
3. You're Killing My Love (Mike Bloomfield, Nick Gravenites) - 3:00
4. Feel So Bad (Chuck Willis) - 3:39
5. Gambler's Blues (B.B. King, Jules Taub) - 5:39
6. Baby, I Love You (Ronnie Shannon) - 3:09
7. My Old Lady (Mike Bloomfield, Nick Gravenites) - 2:11
8. My Love Will Never Die (Otis Rush) - 4:33
9. Reap What You Sow (Mike Bloomfield, Nick Gravenites, Paul Butterfield) - 4:54
10.It Takes Time (Otis Rush) - 3:26
11.Can't Wait No Longer (Mike Bloomfield, Nick Gravenites) - 3:52

*Otis Rush - Guitar, Vocals
*Duane Allman - Guitar
*Joe Arnold - Tenor Saxophone
*Barry Beckett - Keyboards
*Ronnie Eades - Baritone Saxophone
*Roger Hawkins - Drums
*Gerald Jemmott - Bass
*Jimmy Johnson - Guitar
*Gene Miller - Trumpet
*Mark Naftalin - Keyboards
*Aaron Varnell - Tenor Saxophone
*Nick Gravenites - Producer 
*Michael Bloomfield - Producer