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Otis Rush biography



Born: April 29, 1934, Philadelphia, Mississippi Otis Rush is a stunning vocalist, innovative guitarist and songwriter who has hugely influenced blues and rock artists, including Johnny Winter, Stevie Ray Vaughan (whose band, Double Trouble, was named after Rush's song of the same name), Jeff Beck, and Carlos Santana. Rush was inspired to become a bluesman after he moved to Chicago in the late forties and saw Muddy Waters and Howlin' Wolf perform. Along with Buddy Guy and Magic Slim, Rush developed a playing style that would become known as the "West Side sound," an emotionally intense combination of guitar licks and expressive vocals, with an urban sound that signified a departure from classic Mississippi Delta blues. Willie Dixon recognized Rush's genius early on, and Rush's recording of Dixon's original, "I Can't Quit You, Baby," reached number 9 on the R&B charts in the mid-fifties. A songwriter in his own right, Rush's frequent use of minor keys provides his music with a subtle but unmistakably anguished tone and interesting moodiness. He is a left-handed guitarist, and like Albert King, one of his primary influences, he plays the guitar upside down rather than having it restrung. Rush continues to tour.