Otis Rush – Checking On My Baby

One stagnant afternoon, this little number popped up on random on the Bemolutionary MP3 player and air-struck away the cobwebs with its howling intensity. That agonised opening fanfare sounds like a blues catastrophe, blaring guitar notes being mangled out of shape, giving way to what surely must rank as one of the most powerful, impassioned vocal performances in the history of blues music.

The Bemolution had never encountered Otis Rush before – this track was from one of the many, many generic compilation albums that have been borrowed, ripped to hard-drive, returned then barely touched. So, delighted with this accidental musical discovery, the next step was to have a mosey around the rest of his musical output. And, vaguely intriguingly, find it quite unimpressive –Rush’s back catalogue is mostly middle-of-the-road electric blues, with little of the fire shown on a small handful of standout tracks, like this and the similarly blazing ‘I Can’t Quit You Baby’.

Still, it’s fascinating to ponder the myriad of tiny little factors that have to come together on the day of one recording session to produce a meteor-blow of a three-minute single, and how when some of those factors are absent the same artist can sound completely different.