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Otis Rush Biography

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Birth Name: Otis Rush
Born: 1935/04/29
Birth Place: Philadelphia, Mississippi, USA
Years Active: 1956–2004
Genres: Chicago Blues, Electric Blues

Otis Rush was born on April 29, 1935 in Philadelphia, Mississippi and is a blues musician, singer, and guitarist. Rush's distinctive guitar style produced a sound that became known as the 'West Side Chicago blues.' Rush is left-handed and plays a left-handed guitar strung upside-down with the low E string at the bottom, which helped in part to produce his unique sound. Rush moved to Chicago, Illinois in 1948, and got his start in music playing local clubs on the South Side and West Side of the blues scene in Chicago. As the 1950s emerged, Rush was offered a recording contract with Cobra Records where he began recording in 1956 to 1958. Rush released eight singles and collaborated with artists, such as Ike Turner and Jody Williams. His first single “I Can't Quit You Baby” (1956) peaked at #6 on Billboard's R&B Singles Chart. Of note were Rush's hit songs: “Double Trouble” and “All Your Love (I Miss Loving).” In 1959, Cobra Records went bankrupt and Rush landed a recording contract with Chess Records. Rush's work for Chess culminated on his 1969 album, “Door To Door,” which featured Albert King.

1965 saw Rush recording for Vanguard, which resulted in the compilation album, “Chicago/The Blues/Today! Vol.2.” Rush embarked on a tour of the U.S and Europe at this time, in addition to playing the American Folk Blues Festival. A second 1969 album, “Mourning in the Morning” was released on Cotillion Records and incorporated a new musical direction for Rush; combining soul and rock music. As the 1970s exploded, Rush recorded the album, “Right Place, Wrong Time” (1971) on Capitol Records, who refused to release the album. It would be another 5 year before Rush could release the album on P-Vine Records in Japan in 1976. As the 1970s progressed, Rush recorded work for Bullfrog Records, Delmark Records and Sonet Records in Europe, however as the 1970s came to a close so too did Rush's musical drive. It would be 1985 before U.S audiences would hear Rush's music again and see him perform live. A live album, “Tops,” and a tour ensued. 1994 marked the first new studio album from Rush in 16 years, “Ain't Enough Comin'.” Rush followed-up with, “Any Place I'm Goin'“ in 1998, which earned Rush his first Grammy Award for 'Best Traditional Blues Album' in 1999.

Rush continued to tour and perform live, and in 2002 he was featured on the Bo Diddley tribute album, “Hey Bo Diddley - A Tribute!,” performing the song “I'm A Man.” Two years later, Rush suffered a stroke, which has kept him from touring and performing live since. 2006 marked another live album for Rush, “Live and From San Francisco” on Blues Express Records.