The blues has no better showman than Bobby Rush. Again and again, Bobby has won or been nominated for major awards for his live performances by the blues' top organizations. Rush's energetic performances have his audiences up and dancing, soaking in all the energy that radiates from the stage. During his show-stopping revue, he draws the crowd to him with his rich vocals and irreverent tales of life.
During his four decades of performing, he has taken only a few months of vacation (total) from the road. Rush, who lives in Jackson, Mississippi, was born Emmett Ellis Jr. in Homer, Louisiana. At the age of six, he managed to fashion a guitar out of an old broom and began listening to artists who, in time, have been the greatest influence on him-Louis Jordan, Elmore James and Muddy Waters. "Muddy and Howlin' Wolf influenced me from their stage performance. B.B. King influenced me as an artist. Louis Jordan influenced me as a writer. Little Walter influenced me as a harmonica player and Ray Charles influenced me as an entertainer", Rush recalls.
At a young age, Bobby moved to Chicago's west then south side. It was during high school that he formed a blues band and began playing in various blues clubs. For several years, Luther Allison played guitar in Rush's band. He eventually changed his name from Emmett Ellis Jr. to Bobby Rush out of respect for his father. Bobby soon signed with ABC Records in 1968 and released the song Gotta Have Money. In 1971, Rush made it to the Billboard Soul Charts with Chicken Heads released on Galaxy Records.
Bobby began crafting a unique style that incorporated blues, funk and folk. He moved to the Jewel label in 1973, recording four Chicago-produced singles. From Jewel, he went to Warner Brothers then to Philadelphia International Records (PIR). By 1982, Rush had signed with LaJam Records out of Jackson, Mississippi, where he released five albums, one of which was the phenomenally successful hit Sue, and became a major attraction in the South. But it was in 1995 that Bobby found a home at Malaco's Waldoxy label. At Waldoxy, he released One Monkey Don't Stop No Show which was nominated for two W. C. Handy Awards. The Living Blues Critics' Poll named him the year's Best Live Performer in 1995. In 1996 and 1997, he captured the Real Blues Magazine Award as The Best Soul/R & B Live Performer.
Bobby Rush has his sights set on being introduced to a new generation of fans while his long-time fans continue to deepen their appreciation for his music.