Mississippi Writers and Musicians
MISSISSIPPI MUSICIANS: Otis Rush


Otis Rush Otis Rush, from the cover of Living Blues magazine.

Major Works

Albums (year released)

  • Right Place, Wrong Time, 1976
  • So Many Roads, N/A
  • Live and; Awesome, 04/96
  • Ain't Enough Comin', 04/94
  • Live In Europe, 10/93
  • Screamin' And Cryin', 10/92
  • Cobra Recordings, 08/92
  • Cold Day In Hell, 11/88
  • Mourning In Morning, 02/92
  • Lost In The Blues, 03/91
  • So Many Roads, 05/89
  • Tops

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Otis Rush: A Biography
By Marlon Matthews (SHS)

Marlon Matthews, SHS researcher. Photo by N. JacobsOtis Rush is maybe the greatest guitar king ever to make Chicago blues. Rush is also known as "Little Otis" to all the big time blues stars in Chicago. Otis Rush is well known for his electrifying voice and for being one of the first baritones to reach popularity in the blues industry. Rush uses his great voice to deliver his songs with plenty of experience and pure emotion.

Otis Rush was born one of seven children in Philadelphia, Mississippi,  on April 29, 1934.  As a child, he wanted a lot of attention from his mother when he was younger. Rush worked in the fields to help his mother in his younger days. Otis, along with his other brothers and sisters. had to support each other without the help from a father figure. (Living Blues 96)

Rush moved to Chicago in 1948, but he had learned to play the guitar, which he played upside down and left-handed.  and harmonica as a child in Mississippi.  That's when he found out that he could play, create, and write songs for himself. By 1954 he had begun to play the guitar in earnest, inspired first by the rugged Delta blues of Muddy Waters and Howlin' Wolf and then by the recordings of B.B and Albert King. Rush gained enough respect in Chicago blues circles for the  composer and bass player Willie Dixon to help him secure a recording contract with Cobra Records in 1956. (www.Blueflamecafe.com)

Otis RushRush signed with Cobra Recordings. He released his first single Can't Quit You Baby and became number nine on the top- ten list. (www.Blueflamecafe.com) Cobra Recording collapsed so Rush had to go elsewhere.  For a time he recorded with Chess Records, Duke Records, Atlantic Records, Capitol Records, and Quicksilver Recording Company.

Although Otis Rush has gone  through hard times and situations in his lifetime, he still remains one of the greatest blues artists in the United States. He still performs although for a time he had gone into retirement.  Otis Rush has to be one of Mississippi's most talented artists.

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Timeline

1934      Otis Rush born in Philadelphia, Mississippi
1948      Otis Rush moved to Chicago.
1954      Rush began playing the guitar.
1956      Otis Rush signed a contract with Cobra Records.
1960      Rush signed with Chess Records.
1961      Rush switched to Duke Recording Label.
1969      Rush received a contract with Cotillion Records.
1970      Rush signed a contract with Capitol Records.
1976      Bullfrog recording label bought Rush's song “Right Place, Wrong Time”
1994      Rush under Quicksilver Records Released the album Ain’t Enough Common’ In.

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Related Websites

www.blueflamecafe.com - Gives a lot of information on the switching of  labels  Otis Rush has been to.

www.ironworks.com/pictures/otis.htm- Has pictures of the great blues king Otis Rush.

www.platinumcd.com/- A biography and words from other blues stars about Otis Rush.

www.skaskjazz.com/artist/otis_rush/index.html – Has a biography of Otis Rush that has current information up until 1997.

All-Music Guide (very complete) to Otis Rush.

Reviews from the street about Otis Rush.

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Bibliography

"Otis Rush". Online. Available http://www.blueflamecafe.com.April 25,1999.

"Otis Rush". Online Available http://www.jellyroll.com. May 5, 1999.

"Otis Rush Interview" Living Blues Magazine

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