It may come off as a bit of a stretch, but at this point Jimbo Mathus is somewhat of an institution in the South. Having slogged away in the rock & roll trenches for thirty-plus years, he has at times experienced—as so few musicians do—the ersatz glitter and sublime dizziness of massive mainstream success coupled with wide-ranging critical acclaim.
Bobby Rush is intent on making it clear that he's the buoyant master of his domain. Not that this is news to anyone who knows him and his music. The Louisiana-born preacher's son generated some heat in the Chicago blues scene of the '60s, but he ultimately chose to head in the exact opposite direction of all those Delta bluesmen who'd migrated to Northern cities to find work; he'd bring his colorful show to the chitlin' circuit's middle-of-nowhere juke joints instead. Even as his visibility has risen, he's remained admirably loyal to working-class African-American audiences, and that's by design.
You can hear music anywhere, but in New Orleans you can feel it and smell it in the thick and salty air. Now and then you can read about it—but rarely in stories as well-told as Unfinished Blues: Memories of a New Orleans Music Man by Harold Battiste Jr. with Karen Celestan (2010), and Ernie K-Doe: The R&B Emperor of New Orleans by Ben Sandmel (2012). These are the first two books in a series published by the Historic New Orleans Collection.
Amanda Petrusich and Nathan Salsburg share ten songs emblematic, in one way or another, of the folk music revival that flourished in New York City in the 1960s. Like all mixes, these songs represent their time and place, our time and place, and a few breathtaking points of intersection.