Seminal blues guitarist Otis Rush was born near Philadelphia and learned his instrument from listening to blues on the radio.
Whilst visiting his sister in Chicago, he was taken to see a performance by Muddy Waters and decided that he wanted a career as a musician. Purchasing a guitar he practised whenever possible.
One night the guitarist at a local club failed to turn up and Otis was offered $5 to take his place, which led to him gaining a residency.
In 1956 he was signed to the newly formed Cobra Records where the label’s first release was his version of the Willie Dixon song I Can’t Quit You Baby which became a national R&B hit.
When Cobra collapsed in 1959, he signed to Chess where only eight of his tracks were released, the best-remembered being So Many Roads, So Many Trains (1960).
His 50-year career contained a number of memorable recordings, none surpassing the tortuous sounds coaxed from Eli Toscano’s backroom studio, with Willie Dixon‘s writing, arranging and production.
Ain’t Enough Comin’ In (1994) was a stunning surprise and Rush delivered some of the best singing of his career.
Otis Rush died on 29 September 2018 from complications of a stroke he suffered in 2003. He was 84 years old.