(born November 10, 1935)
Bobby Rush (born Emmit Ellis Jr. in Homer, Louisiana) was the son of Ellis Sr. and Mattie Elllis. His father was a pastor whose guitar and harmonica playing provided early musical influences. As a young child he began experimenting with music using a sugar-cane syrup-bucket and a broom-wire diddley bow. Around 1946, he and the family moved to Pine Bluff, Arkansas where his father took on the pastorate of a church. It was here that Rush would become friends with Elmore James, slide-player Boyd Gilmore (Elmore's cousin), and piano-player Moose John Walker; eventually forming a band to support his singing, as well as harp and guitar playing. Still a teen, Rush donned a fake mustache to play in local juke joints with the band fascinated by enthusiasm of the crowds. His family relocated to Chicago in 1953 where he became part of the local blues scene in the following decade. It was in the early 70s that his self-penned "Chicken Heads" cracked the Billboard R&B chart on Galaxy, after being picked up from a small label started by former Vee Jay Records producer, Calvin Carter. He later recorded with leading black music label, Philadelphia International, releasing his first album, Rush Hour with one track, I Wanna Do The Do also charting in 1979. In the early 1980s, he moved to Jackson, Mississippi, where he recorded a series of records for the LaJam label, Malaco’s Waldoxy imprint, and more recently his own Deep Rush label. On Rush’s 2004 FolkFunk, he returned to the sounds of his roots, featuring guitarist Alvin Youngblood Hart. Rush received recognition for his music after the release of his 22nd album Rush, when he was awarded "Best Male Soul Blues Artist" at the Blues Music Awards. He also received “best acoustic artist” and “best acoustic album” for his album Raw. His album, Hoochie Mama was nominated for a Grammy award in the blues music section in 2000. His most recent albums are Look At What You Gettin' (2008) and Blind Snake (2009).