Louisiana-born bluesman Bobby Rush hit Chicago in the early 50s. By the mid-60s he had a series of local recordings under his belt, but it wasn’t until 1968’s “Gotta Have Money,” on ABC-Paramount, that his blend of R & B urgency and sly down-home wisdom solidified into the distinctive personal style that Rush describes as “folk funk.” That’s a perfect appellation–his music is contemporary in the soul-blues vein, but his lyrics and stage show hark back to the venerable heritage of minstrelsy, ribald toasts, the dozens, and fables told in rhyme. In the gender-sensitive 90s, some critics have found him a bit over-the-top: songs like “Wearing It Out,” “Sue,” and “She Caught Me With My Pants Down” leave little to the imagination–and what they don’t reveal, his nubile coed dance line probably will. But his tales always have a moral–often an admonition to treat women with love and kindness, despite the vicissitudes of romance and the lure of temptation–and even at his most lascivious he tempers his machismo with irony and a refusal to take himself too seriously. Friday, 9:30 PM, Rosa’s, 3420 W. Armitage; 342-0452.


Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): Photograph of Bobby Rush by James Fraher.