Red Hot Funky Soul for Dancing and Seducing Too!
Wow…..I couldn’t believe my eyes when I opened the package containing this magnificent disc. While there are scores of other names from the Soul pantheon that trip off the tongue before his; I’ve been a bit of a fan since the early 70’s when Chicken Heads and Gotta Be Funky were a staple of the Sunday night Disco at my local Youth Centre.
Still recording and performing at the ripe old age of 82 Bobby Rush has had one Hell of a life; and bits and pieces of those stories find their way into the songs on this, his umpteenth release.
As always on these occasions that initial excitement gives way t trepidation as I press ‘play’ but……yowza, yowza, YOWZA…the kid still has it!
The funky guitar and wailing harmonica had me hooked even before that supper cool growl hit the speakers on opening track I Don’t Want Nobody Hangin’ Around. Rush plays the part of a ‘worried man’ not wanting preachers, bill collectors or dog catchers knocking on his door while he’s at work and his lady ‘is all alone.’ Perhaps he has ‘trust issues’ but it’s a great opening song.
Rush’s voice is in fine fettle all the way through this disc; but on the slow and sensuous Standing on Shaky Ground and the subtly sexual Nighttime Gardner (featuring the sublime talents of Keb Mo’) I don’t think he’s ever sounded finer.
As well as Keb Mo’ two other guitar legends make surprise guest appearances, Rocking Magpie favourites Dave Alvin and Joe Bonamassa no less on It’s Your Move and Me, Myself and I respectively, and mercifully while adding to the experience both are more than respectful enough to allow Mr. Rush to shine….and shine like a diamond he does on both songs.
On Got Me Accused Bobby even slips in a little bit of racial politics. Sadly this true tale from his younger days appears to be still relevant across the world in 2016.
Where do I start looking for a favourite track?
I Think Your Dress is Too Short is as perfect slice of sassy, sexy Southern Soul as I may ever have heard; but Funk O’ De Funk took me straight back to many heady Friday Nights at the Blue Moon Disco at Barmston WMC. You may not have heard of said establishment, but I had many ‘happy’ nights there and this cool slice of music brought back many, many memories.
I will actually point you to the title track Porcupine Meat as it encapsulates everything that makes Bobby Rush one of Soul and Blues finest songwriters and, indeed singers. As I’d expected the lyrics are super-sexy and full of innuendoes with a bass line that could replace Viagra. The song is about a woman ‘want him’ but doesn’t ‘want anyone else to have him’….. “porcupine meat is too fat to eat/too lean to throw away.” It may not actually make sense to you or me; but I can’t get that hook out of my mind.
What else can I say? Most music these days is disposable, with many artists of this generation retreading the past; but Bobby Rush takes his Golden Period as a starting point and breaths now life into every corner.
Released September 16th 2016