The Latest | January 10

Times are bleak, fam. Concerts big and small are being canceled or postponed again, and most of the ways you’ll find Memphis music in the news this week are, to use a technical term, a total bummer. We managed to rustle up a few things that brought us some light, and we think they might do the same for you, too. Here’s The Latest.

‘Booty is part of Blackness!’

There’s an excellent long read over at The Guardian on our patron saint of funky blues, honorary Rhodes College doctor Bobby Rush. Prompted by the recent release of his memoir, ‘I Ain’t Studdin’ Ya,’ the interview rambles throughout the blues legend’s career. We particularly loved learning about how his appeal does (or doesn’t) cross over to white, Euro audiences, and exactly what Mr. Rush thinks about it.

It’s a cultural conundrum: there’s nothing nasty in his celebratory shows but, inevitably, humour doesn’t always travel well. I mention European criticism of his dancers and Rush’s reply contains tempered fury. “Shake dancers are from Africa,” he states. “It’s what Black people do. Booty is part of our Blackness and I’m not ashamed of who I am or where I come from.”

Twerking, I suggest, comes from shake dancers. “You got it,” he replies. “Rappers love what I do cos I’m swift with the lyrics.” – Garth Cartwright

More blues about the blues

The latest news from The Blues Foundation has us singing the blues: the International Blues Challenge (a.k.a. one of the best weeks to be on Beale Street all year long), originally scheduled for January 18-22, has been postponed due to rising COVID cases and the Omicron surge. But not all the news is bad – the Foundation also recently announced new leadership as veteran executive Judith Black steps into its top role.

Black has deep family ties to the blues. “I grew up in a household where we appreciated and celebrated the blues,” said Black, whose father was a dedicated blues historian. “He had an extensive collection, everything from Bessie Smith to Gus Cannon to Muddy Waters. He would be sharing the history of the music and of the country and what was going on that generated this music. He instilled so much of this history in me from an early age.”  – Read more at The Commercial Appeal

Long Live Dolph

Just announced today, Young Dolph’s record label, Paper Route Empire, is prepping a tribute album: Paper Route EMPIRE Presents: Long Live Dolph. The record will drop January 21, and Rolling Stone has the premiere of its title track.

 

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The Latest | January 10

Times are bleak, fam. Concerts big and small are being canceled or postponed again, and most of the ways you’ll find Memphis music in the news this week are, to use a technical term, a total bummer. We managed to rustle up a few things that brought us some light, and we think they might […]

 

The Latest | January 3

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