Sippican Cottage

otis rush


A Man Who Has Nothing In Particular To Recommend Him Discusses All Sorts of Subjects at Random as Though He Knew Everything

That. First. Note.

Otis Rush, sometime in the 60s, I gather.

Blues bands were really popular in the late fifties and early sixties. They had a big resurgence in the eighties. If you were a guitar player in the eighties, and wanted to play the blues, there was a shifting Mount Rushmore of go-to guys to mimic. First, there was what my brother called the King family. Albert King, BB King, and Freddie King. Pick your poison. Stevie Ray Vaughan wanted to play like Albert, Clapton wanted to play like BB, and Grand Funk Railroad wanted to play poker with Freddie King:

The lyrics are about little things that were happening on the road during the Phoenix tour. All of them are true. Brewer explains the line, “Up all night with Freddie King, I’ve got to tell you, poker’s his thing”:

“Freddie King was the opening act for us, the great Blues guitar player from Texas. It always struck me as funny that he would make his band play poker with him every night. We used to sit in on some of the poker games, and that’s where that line came from. His band, he’d pay them, and then he’d go win all the money back so they were broke and they’d have to keep playing for him – it was a great deal. A lot of people don’t understand the Freddie King part because they don’t know who Freddie King is. Anybody who knows about Freddie King immediately picks it up. People who don’t say, ‘What are you saying, that Focus can’t sing?'”

Muddy Waters was like a big blues buddha, but he really didn’t have a very recognizable guitar style. But sidemen everywhere copied his sidemen. There was a handful of gutbucket guys like Buddy Guy and John Leee Hooker. Of course everyone was sitting on T-Bone Walker’s shoulders, one way or another. But if I had to point to one guy who was mostly obscure to the general public, but everyone wanted to sound like, it would have to be Otis Rush.

Good luck trying to sing that first note.

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